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Coming Out & Coming To Terms

How will I know if I am gay?  What does it mean to be gay?  Where do I meet other gay people?  What is gay sex like?  These are all legitimate questions and there are no standard answers to them.  Coming out isn't a one step process, so be aware that it takes time, courage, and support.  Everyone's situation is different.  Sometimes the first step is admitting it to yourself.

"By asking yourself 'who am I? You've have started a journey. Like any journey, it will have its highs and lows. You might be scared and you might be excited; you'll be lonely at times and you will find new friendships. You will have fun and you will be sad. Finding your way will be only one of the challenges... and many of the best directions will come from inside you" - (Gender and Sexual Identity: The Journey Begins, 2000, Canadian Strategy on HIV / AIDS, Health Canada, p. 1)

"The suddenness of self-recognition as a homosexual contrasts sharply with the lengthy process of actually coming to understand and accept one's sexuality" - (The Experiences of Young Gay Men in the Age of HIV: A Review of the Literature, Health Canada, p.11)

"The process of 'coming out' is a coming to terms. It is a journey of self discovery that involves opening up and being honest to yourself and others. Throughout this journey you will have many questions, and like many who have made this journey before, your questions may have started a long time ago" - (Gender and Sexual Identity: The Journey Begins, Canadian Strategy on HIV /AIDS)

"Everyone thinks they're the only ones who have these questions. But that's not the truth. There are people who came before you, and people who will come after you." - Resource Guide to Coming Out - Human Rights Campaign Foundation

"Try reading some books or magazines with a gay theme. Look for TV programs and movies that deal with gay issues. These will show you that you are not alone in your questions and may provide you with important information. You may try sharing your feelings with others. You could talk to a trusted family member, friend, counsellor, doctor, nurse, teacher, or someone at a community organization that supports LGBTQ people, youth, women, or other equality seeking organizations" - Resource Guide to Coming Out - Human Rights Campaign Foundation

Self esteem is an important part of coming out and coming to terms.  When we trust our own feelings and act on our values then we are working towards developing a healthy level of self esteem.  Coming to terms with our sexuality provides us with a positive attitude and provides an example for others.  It requires being open and honest with ourselves.

For good self-esteem to develop, we need to recognize and insist on what is important to us.  What that means for each of us may be totally different, knowing yourself and respecting yourself is the key.  Maybe it includes re-evaluating what you think about how you look, maybe it means eliminating negative people and influences from your life, maybe it means changing jobs or schools.  It can include any number of issues and you are the only one who can figure it out.

Self esteem allows us to define our social and sexual limits and make healthier decisions about how we lead our lives. 

There are many organizations out there that can provide coming out resources and supports.  Its up to you to decide which resources are best for you and seek them out.  Some of them are targeted to life as a gay or bisexual identified man, others help in the process of coming out; and still more reflect and inform us of the shared experiences of being gay in the 21st century.

We're everywhere and potentially everyone.  There are no all encompassing answers to your questions, there are no one-stop resources for all the services and supports you might need; there is diversity and variety.  Your best bet is to check out a few different sources and follow up with whatever ones you feel match your needs.  Try checking out some local resources like Newfoundland Gays and Lesbians for Equality, LBGT MUN, Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians and Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere.  Someone from those organizations will be a listening ear.

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