1. Teenagers Coming Out
Dan Savage and Terry Miller). What you will find there is true. It does get better, and you will get stronger. If you bravely come out, first of all be proud of yourself for your courage. What a step! Know also that, as explained below, you are helping so many others by this daring action. I cannot tell you how much I admire you, having hidden myself when in high school (granted it was the 60s).
2. Telling Yourself You're Gay
I've posted about my own journey where the biggest step was getting over the idea that because I could have successful and enjoyable sex with women that meant I was straight. Never mind that all my dreams were about sex with men, I was STRAIGHT, damn it! See my post "How To Tell If You're Gay," August 31, 2010, for more on this topic. But let me add that every moment you waste in pretense means you are postponing the life you should leading, a life that will be very rewarding if you can finally talk truth to yourself.
3. Telling Your Parents and Family
But you know your own parents. What's likely to occur? Acceptance? Ostracization? As far as books to give parents, go see http://www.gayfamilysupport.com/ for a list of good ones. That site will also direct you to PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), a wonderful organization for parents of gays, and having support groups all over the globe.
Siblings tend to be easier to reveal your sexual orientation to, but you also know them. If you have more than one sibling, tell the easiest one first and enlist his/her help with parents and others.
Finally, tell your family that difficult as this all is, coming out is ultimately an act of love. If you had decided not to tell them, then you've also decided to cut them out of a major portion of who you really are, and lie to them steadily about your life. What family would think that a good thing? One other blessing is this: when it spreads throughout the entire family (grandma, cousins, Uncle Louie) the homophobes among them will likely go silent or be condemned by the rest of the tribe.
4. Telling Your Friends
Homophobic people usually react badly because they are terrified of their own homosexual desires. Remember that. If brave enough, you might ask, "Why does this bother you so much?" See my post, "Homosexuality: The Iceberg Theory," April 25, 2010, for more on this.
These days everyone who knows me is aware I'm gay (including thousands of my former law students), and I no longer deal with the issue of coming out except with strangers. I don't bring it up, but if the fact I'm gay is relevant (and the situation safe, say talking to someone sitting next to me on an airplane) I'll casually mentioned it. Most people have no reaction, but if it's an issue for them, what do I care? It's not my problem if they're bigots.
Coming out is important. It's important not just so you can live your life freely (no small reason), but also because as we do this singly, by the tens, hundreds, millions, we've forced society to change and look at us anew. All over the globe—in a breathtakingly short period of time—homosexuals have gone from being pariahs to constituting just another component of the human experience. When you come out you're advancing this movement, doing your share. You will silence some homophobes, you will cause people who didn't think about homosexuals as people to finally do so, and you will put a face on the topic that won't be ignored when these same friends notice others being homophobic and, indignant, speak up.
So that's my advice for you, blog reader: Come out and help make the world a better place. ________________________________________
“How I Lost a Gay Marriage Debate,” April 29, 2010
“Straight Talk,” May 10, 2010
“Marijuana and Me,” July 11, 2010
"Choose To Be Gay, Choose To Be Straight," January 25, 2011
"The Homosexual Agenda To Conquer the World," February 8, 2011
"Seducing Straight Men," March 3, 2011
"Jumping the Broom: How 'Married' are Married Gay Couples?" July 17, 2011
"The Legacy of Homophobia," August 2, 2011
"The History of Gay Rights in Columbus, Ohio," June 4, 2012
"Republican Politicians: Reluctant Homophobes?" November 26, 2013
“Gays Will Be Able To Marry in All States By July of 2016 (and Maybe 2015): A Prediction,” February 14, 2014
“Is It Legal To Discriminate Against Gay People?” March 19, 2014
“Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality and Gay Marriage?” June 29, 2014
“Are Gays Really Just 1.6% of the U.S. Population?” July 22, 2014
“A Gay Hoosier Lawyer Looks at Indiana’s RFRA: The Religious Bigot Protection Act,” March 30, 2015; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-gay-hoosier-lawyer-looks-at-indianas.html
“A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013