Coming out is process LGBT people use to describe when they tell people about thier sexuality. There is no magic rule book that tells you whether you're ready or not. You'll know when the time is right. This can take months, years, and even decades – and that’s fine. Whenever’s right for you, is what’s right.

How to come out

So you've made the decision to tell someone. But how do you go about actually saying it? Here are some steps to follow.

Make sure you have a support network in place

Telling one person you really trust first. Someone you’re quite sure will support you without judgement. Then, whatever happens with others, you’ve got someone to prop you up. It’s much easier once you’ve told one person. And it’s probably best not to tell the person you’re worried about first. Build on positive experiences.

Don’t judge people’s initial reactions

You’ve spent however long ruminating and stressing and pondering what you’re feeling and have had all the time you need to come to terms with it. The people you’re coming out to haven’t. So, don’t judge them on their initial response. Give them time to digest the new information and don’t expect their first reaction to be perfect. They may be shocked, and no one in shock behaves their best. Wait a week or so before you really know how they feel.

Only tell who you want

You may feel you should tell your parents first, but, actually, if you’re only comfortable telling your mates right now – that’s fine. What’s most important is protecting yourself emotionally through this time. This isn’t about your parents getting upset or what people think, it’s about you, it’s for you. Don’t be afraid to be selfish.

What if I get a bad reaction?

If your family or friends haven’t responded how you wanted, it will sting. It may even feel like your heart’s been ripped out. If this happens, surround yourself with people who make you feel good and give it time to settle down. There are a number of organisations and helplines you can contact for extra support at the end of this article.

Remember: if people have a problem it’s their problem, not yours. Your sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of. Ever.

What if my parents chuck me out of the house?

This is an absolute worst-case scenario. But if you’re worried your parents are going to throw you out, think carefully before you commit to telling them and weigh up whether it’s worth waiting, just to keep a roof over your head. If you decide to go for it, here’s what to do if you find yourself homeless.


  • LGBT Youth Scotland has lots of great advice articles about LGBT issues, as well as running supportive live chats online. Text on 07786 202 370.
  • Queer Youth Network gives you the opportunity to meet and chat with other LGBT young people online.
  • Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline offers a range of help services for the LGBT community, including message boards and a helpline. 0300 330 0630