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How to proudly come out as LGBTQ+ at school

You’ve just learned something new about yourself, and you’re happy and excited to embrace it. We provide tips for how to come out as gay at school, to friends, and to family.

May 23 2022 - 10 min read

come out as LGBTQ+ at school

You’ve just learned something new about yourself, and you’re happy and excited to embrace it.

You’re a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community!

But, now you’ve discovered this important aspect of your identity, you might be thinking about how or when to come out as gay. This means being able to be your true, authentic self both at home and at school.

We understand that it’s a lot to take in and consider. Supporting LGBTQ students in schools has come on in leaps and bounds over the years, but it’s still completely normal to feel nervous or hesitant to take that next step yourself.

In this article, you’ll find tips for how to come out as gay at school, to friends, and to family.

When to come out as gay

Coming out is a very big and personal decision. It can feel like sharing your biggest secret but it can also be hugely liberating. Making you feel like a big weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

And no one can make this decision apart from you.

If you’re wondering how to come out as gay, then you need to make sure this is something you’re comfortable doing. Especially at school. If it isn’t then don’t worry. You need to take your time and ensure you feel 100% ready. And that can happen at any time, so don’t feel like you have to rush it.

Being openly part of the LGBTQ community in school is a wonderful way to spread the message of inclusion, and potentially help other people accept themselves too. But we know it isn’t always easy to find the right time and the confidence to do it.

There are a number of great reasons for coming out, including:

  • Living the life you want to live.
  • Being a positive role model for other teens who might be nervous or even scared to come out.
  • Embracing your true self and being fully you.
  • Unloading the burden of keeping it to yourself.
  • Meeting other LGBTQ+ teens.
  • Educating others both in and out of the LGBTQ+ community and breaking down stereotypes and stigma.

If you’ve decided that now is the time and you’re ready to come out as gay, then well done. This is a huge step and you should feel so proud of yourself. Having the confidence to express your true self at school will not only do wonders for your self-esteem, but it will set a positive example for other kids who are wondering when to come out as gay themselves.

How to come out as gay

It can be difficult hiding something about yourself from friends and family. When you hold important things like this inside, it can affect other parts of your life, as well as zap your energy and focus.

Just be sure that you want to come out rather than feel like you HAVE to.

If you have decided to come out, then let’s look at some ideas for how to come out as gay at school and at home.

  1. Educate yourself first

    Educating yourself as much as possible about LGBTQ+ and the topics surrounding it is empowering for two reasons.

    Firstly, you’ll feel assured and confident in your own knowledge and secondly, it means you can help educate others when you do come out.

    If you’re well informed and secure in your knowledge you’re more likely to be taken seriously and you’ll be a positive role model for others around you.

  2. Come out to someone you trust

    It’s a good idea to come out to someone you trust first.

    This can be your foster parent, closest friends, or a teacher. Having this person or group of people in your corner will give you the support you need when you choose to come out to others. If you love and trust them then you know they’ll be there for you. Your real friends will always accept you for who you are.

    Even so, you might need to be prepared to help them understand how you’re feeling so they have the full story and understand this is a defining moment in your life.

  3. Seek support

    It can help to speak to your guidance teacher or headteacher first to discuss how the school can best support you.

    This is especially important if there have been cases of LGBTQ bullying in school.

    You can even ask for a copy of your school’s anti-bullying policy to see it mentions homophobia. You have the right to be kept safe from harm at school and the right to have a say in the decisions affecting your own life. And your school has a responsibility to make sure you’re kept safe from bullying and discrimination.

  4. Do it somewhere safe

    Blurting out such an important statement about yourself in a big, busy area (such as a classroom or canteen) might not be the best place to come out.

    If you’re coming out to one or a couple of people for the first time, it’s best to do it somewhere neutral and somewhere you feel safe and secure.

    Try a teacher’s office, a quiet part of the playground, or even an empty classroom. As long as you feel safe then you’re good to go.

  5. Give yourself time

    This isn’t something you want to rush.

    Whether you’re wondering how to come out as gay to your family or how to come out as gay to your best friend, you want to make sure you have plenty of time to talk.

    So it might not be the best idea to do it on your way to your next class! Choose a time during the day where you won’t be rushed (such as lunch break) or at the end of the day if you want to tell your teacher. Take your time and don’t feel pressured to say it quickly.

  6. Prepare

    Now you know you want to come out, you should prepare how you’re going to say it.

    Here are some tips:

    • Try not to be too scripted or formal about how you speak. It’s best to be as natural and yourself as possible. This will help you feel more secure as you speak.
    • Do your best not to give too much information at once. This can be a lot to take in and just giving the minimum amount of information at first is best.
    • Try and stay as calm and composed as possible. Of course, it’s normal to feel or even get emotional about such a big announcement, but take some deep breaths and say what’s in your heart.
    • You might feel a little defensive when you come out. Again, this is normal, but do your best to be non-confrontational. You’re coming out to this person (or people) because you trust them. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
  7. Offer to run a workshop

    If you’re coming out to your teacher, a great way to feel empowered and raise LGBTQ awareness in schools is to offer to run a workshop.

    This can raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ community and educate classmates on different terms, etc. It can also raise important discussions, ask questions, spread tolerance, and inspire other students who might want to come out themselves.

    You could even discuss starting an LGBTQ+ society at school.

Coming out isn’t always easy

The world isn’t perfect.

And even after you’ve come out, you might experience some negativity, including homophobia, people treating you differently, rejection, ignorance, and not being understood.

If this does happen, remember it’s not a reflection on you as a person. You’ve done something amazing and you’re being true to yourself. See it as an opportunity to help educate and spread positivity and awareness. Even if you have a negative experience by coming out you will have ramped up your opportunity to meet other LGBTQ+ people, make new friends, and even receive support from new people.

But if you ever experience LGBTQ bullying in school then don’t go through it alone. Speak to your teacher, friends, foster parents, or an adult you trust and get the help and support you need. There are also great organisations that can help as well as a lot of online resources, who are just a phone call or message away.

Feel confident and empowered as your authentic self

Coming out is different for everyone. And deciding when to come out as gay is a question that really only you can answer.

LGBTQ awareness in schools has improved massively in today’s society. Regardless, however, and whenever you choose to come out is your choice. Take your time, speak to other teens in the LGBTQ+ community, and do what feels right to you.