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It was National Coming Out Day last week, an annual LGBTQ+ awareness day to show support to people who have or want to come out, but we're here to remind you that you don't need a national day to do it - we celebrate coming out anytime you're ready! Coming out can be a scary thing and no two coming out stories are the same, but there's a whole family waiting for anyone that wants to do it! We spoke to some of our faves about their stories and how you can support someone who wants to come out, as well as how you can feel pride if you’re not ready yet…


Matthew & Ryan

Can you share your coming out story?

We both had very different experiences coming out. Matthew was in a fortunate position to be surrounded by a lot of supportive friends and family. He came out when he was 14, so in the middle of secondary school. He hadn't planned to, but one day something clicked and he just decided to tell people who he really was, without hiding or dodging the constant questions in class, asking if he was gay.

Ryan however had a very different experience. At 17 he came out to his family, who at the time didn't support his sexualtiy. He was then kicked out, leading him to live in a hostel during his final year at college. After college Ryan eventually built bridges with his family, before leaving his home town to pursue further education in a different city, where he met Matthew.

How can people support a friend who wants to come out/has just come out?

Listen and make it clear that you are there for them. Listening is so important to help all the emotions come out, which could have built up for years leading to them coming out. There's always a fear of rejection or homophobia when coming out, so just reminding your friend that you are always there for them will mean so much.

What’s your advice for people who aren’t ready to come out?

Don't feel guilty for this. There is no time limit and it's simply something you can't rush. You will know when you're ready to come out. We definitely think it's SO important to not compare your coming out journey to others or feel like yours should go the same way as who you may follow online. Everyone's experience and journey is so different and it's important to remember it's YOUR journey.

How can people who aren't out yet embrace their pride?

Just remember, you are you. Whatever your sexualtiy is, you are not wrong. The internet is a great place to explore the community anonymously until you feel ready.

What’s the best thing about coming out?

To be unapologetically you and to not have to hide your sexuality just to make others around you feel more comfortable

Who are your favourite and inspirational LGBTQ+ people to follow?

We get a lot of inspo from fellow LGBTQ+ couples which we find across social media who help normalise the community. We think Drag Race stars are incredible people to follow too - they honestly open up so much about their journey, with some pretty inspiring stories.

We just wanted to say for anyone reading this that there is never a right or wrong time to come out. There is no pressure. It is important to make sure you're safe and that you have a network around you who you think will support you. If you feel alone, there is a HUGE and beautiful community online who will accept you, for you!


Helen Scott 

Can you share your coming out story?

Growing up I was always super ‘girly’. I was a professional dancer, loved everything makeup and fashion related and Carrie Bradshaw was my style icon. I was a stereotypical girly girl, but one thing that made me different was that sometimes I kissed girls. I never told anyone about it, but because it happened a few times through my early teens, I just assumed everyone was doing it and weren’t talking about it. When I was 17, I started working in a bar and met the first out and proud lesbian I’d ever come across. She was my bar manager and as soon as we started talking, it was like a light bulb moment - I was gay too! That weekend I went out with her and my new work colleagues to my first ever gay bar and I never looked back!

How can people support a friend who wants to come out/has just come out?

Don’t force them to do, say or be anything they’re not comfortable with. Those of us in the LGBTQ+ community are at higher risk of experiencing poor mental health and are at a greater risk of experiencing hate crime. Even if you’re supportive of the community, that sadly doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Offer an open mind, a safe space to talk should they want to, and donate to LGBTQ+ charities where you can.

What’s your advice for people who aren’t ready to come out?

There is no right time to do it. It’s your identity, it’s your path, and as long as you know that you have a community here that loves you and accepts you, take your time and do it the way you want to. Seek out your online family first if you’re worried your own won’t take it so well, watch YouTube videos and reach out to support groups should you need to. The Albert Kennedy Trust is a great place to start.

How can people who aren't out yet embrace their pride?

Embracing your Pride doesn’t mean you have to spray yourself in rainbow colours and run around quoting Ru Paul’s Drag Race! Simply letting yourself be who you were born to be and loving yourself for who you are is enough. Take time to celebrate you with some self-care. Take a bath, read your favourite LGBTQ+ zine online and crush hard watching your favourite series on Netflix. There are simply ways to celebrate yourself without having to out yourself at the same time.

What’s the best thing about coming out?

The community! Diverse, powerful, history makers, and all round lovers. The LGBTQ+ community is largely a wonderful new family that are there with open arms when you’re ready for us.

Who are your favourite and inspirational LGBTQ+ people to follow?

There are too many wonderful humans to name but here’s a shortlist for you:

@charliecraggs for no nonsense advice

@twotwospodcast for black lesbian realness

@luisachristie for bisexual and vegan vibes

@julesg_uk for all the non-binary finery

And of course come join the my Famalam for lesbian love stories, fashion moments, and all round lols @helenscottuk

Roxann

Can you share your coming out story?

When I was with my first girlfriend I was really insecure and scared about coming out, so I didn’t! My second girlfriend was in a girl band and whilst having an interview with the metro, she mentioned we were dating. A week later they ran the interview with the headline: “MC ROXXXAN IS THE ONE FOR ME.” I woke up to over 70 missed calls from family and friends as the metro is national! As shocking as it was, I’m very grateful as it all came out at once literally!!

How can people support a friend who wants to come out/has just come out?

You can support your friend who wants to or has just come out by listening with no judgement. Definitely ask questions if you have them but take into consideration how big this is for them.

What’s your advice for people who aren’t ready to come out?

My advice to people who haven’t come out yet is, take your time! Do it when you’re ready and comfortable, but be aware not to hide from who you really are. If you’re not coming out because you’re scared, then slowly work your way out of that by maybe telling your best friend then another friend until you get to the point where you realise the important people don’t care and nothing will change. Or be around more openly gay people, their energy will definitely inspire you.

How can people who aren't out yet embrace their pride?

You can embrace your pride by being who you really are you don’t have to be out to be you! Gay is your preference it’s not who you are. You are MORE then just GAY!

What’s the best thing about coming out?

The best thing about coming out for me was the freedom and weight lifted off my shoulders. I immediately felt FREE and present.

Who are your favourite and inspirational LGBTQ+ people to follow?

Here are a few of my most inspirational queers!

@Char_Bailey - spiritual motivational speaker

@tanyacompass - exists loudly and is a queer activist

@ayishat_akanbi - fashion stylist, author and photographer

@tessholliday - body positive queer model

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