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What Are Some Coming Out Issues and Concerns? 

The prospect of coming out, of revealing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, can be a daunting one in any given situation. There is always a risk that the person one chooses to tell may react negatively. The following information may help people who are not LGBTQ understand some of the concerns that people who are LGBTQ have.

What Might People who are LGBTQ be Afraid of When They Come Out?

• Rejection — loss of relationships with friends or family
• Gossip
• Harassment or abuse
• Being thrown out of the family
• Being thrown out of the house
• Discrimination
• Being seen as sick, immoral, or perverted
• Loss of financial support
• Not being accepted in their religious community
• Losing their job
• Having their professional credibility questioned or undermined
• Physical violence

How Might People who are LGBTQ Feel About Coming Out to Someone?

• Scared
• Vulnerable
• Unsure — wondering how the person will react
• Relieved
• Proud

What Might People Who are LGBTQ Want from the People to Whom They Come Out?

• Acceptance
• Support
• Understanding
• Comfort
• Reassurance that their relationship won’t be negatively affected
• Closer relationship
• Acknowledgement of their feelings
• Love

Adapted from “Coming Out,” developed by Vernon Wall and Jamie Washington, 1989

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