Coming out as LGBTQIA+ is one of the hardest things a person can do. The fear of not being accepted by your friends and family is terrifying.
But what people might not realise is that you will have to continuously come out during your life.
When we think about coming out we think about the big one, where you tell your friends and your family. Or tell the first person that you are LGBTQIA+. The fear and the anxiety of it. Then after – no matter the reaction you get – feeling like “this is it, I’ve done it.”
But it’s not it.
Every time you meet someone new, whether that’s a new friend or colleague, or you start a new job. The time may come for you to have to come out again.
Maybe just in a conversation. A ‘smaller’ coming out but still important. Just answering a question about your personal life. And you feel the need to correct them when they ask you about your relationships for example.
Every time I have to do one of these ‘smaller’ coming out I feel 16 again. Unsure of what to say or what to expect from the person I’m telling. I worried I might lose a friend due to my own sexuality.
And it also can be awkward. To correct someone, and have them ask you questions. Whether it’s them supporting you but being curious or not agreeing with what you say. It can be uncomfortable.
It’s exhausting to worry about it. It’s exhausting to hear people’s reactions to it – especially when they are negative.
The problem is, we live in a heteronormative and cisnormative world. People automatically assume you are cisgender and straight.
People see a man and a woman out together as friends, and automatically assume they are dating or married.
These ‘small’ things we have to do are a product of the world we live in, and the views of people in society.
While this will improve, as people get more open-minded it will take a while, and it might never come.