How to come out to yourself

How to come out to yourself

Hello! My name is Emma, my pronouns are She/Her and I’m 20 years old. This article is about my own experience of discovering my sexuality and the importance of coming out to yourself!        

Discovering myself & crushes  

One thing I hear quite often nowadays is the phrase, “you’re too young to know if you are gay”. I started to question my sexuality when I was around 12 years old. Most of my friends had crushes on boys in my year and wanted to spend break time with them. However, personally I had no desire to gain attention from boys and found them quite disgusting; at that time I felt quite confused with myself.

Similarly, throughout my entire life, I have never had a celebrity crush on a man, I always tend to fixate on strong female characters and when I was younger, I never really understood why.

Gay representation in the media

As I grew older, I started to find media that showed same-sex couples, I watched some TV shows and played some video games that centred around lesbian couples. Some examples include Life is Strange Before the Storm (18+), Dickinson and Atypical.  

By engaging in this media, I felt I began to discover myself and I noticed I had a feeling inside of me that what I was watching, “just felt right”.        

Additionally, another thing which helped me was to join my local LGBTQIA+ county club and attend Pride. Connecting with similar people definitely helped me to discover myself! I can remember my first time going to Pride, I was feeling quite nervous and overwhelmed but everyone was friendly and sometimes when you feel alone, it’s the perfect time to become part of the community.  

Girlfriends & coming out to myself   

I met my first girlfriend when I was around 15 years old, she was someone from my school and we would spend a lot of time together. We decided we would keep our relationship secret as we were both worried about ‘coming out’. However, I decided that it would be good to ‘come out’ to myself. 

Coming out to myself was so important to me, it helped me get used to the idea and remove any shame that I was internally feeling. There were a few things I did to help with coming out to myself. I bought subtle lesbian style jewellery, read about other people’s experiences and talked about my thoughts and feelings to my dog! 

Affirming these thoughts and feelings out loud in turn helped me to accept myself and eventually feel comfortable about ‘coming out’ in a wider context.

My top tips  

First of all, I think it is important to note there’s no rush in ‘coming out’, there can be many barriers to coming out and only you can decide when you feel ready. Personally, I found it easier to do it in steps and think about which people I wanted to tell first, rather than telling everyone at the same time. However, some people might want to tell everyone at once, it’s all about personal preference!   

I’m 20 years old, and I’m not ‘out’ to a few specific people yet in my life, so I’m still on this journey. However, I feel so much more confident in myself and speak publicly about my experience and being visible! Here are some more of my tips:

  • Take a look at your past and current crushes, is there anything you can notice?
  • Sometimes it can be good to expose yourself to same-sex couples in the media – is there anything you notice in yourself?
  • Have a look if your local area or school has an LGBTQIA+ club or pride event
  • The Mix community boards have an entire section where young people discuss sexuality!
  • There is so much pressure to ‘come out’ but I think what is more important is to ‘come out’ to yourself – say it out loud, in a mirror to yourself, begin to accept you! Saying your feelings and thoughts out loud is the first step.

For more coming out tips, please check out these articles:

Coming out to a religious family

Coming out, on extra hard mode

What coming out means to me

Coming out can be lonely

It’s important to know that sometimes using specific labels might not be right for you at the moment and that is ok! Coming out to yourself using your own thoughts and feelings works well too!

If you need support with coming out

If you’re thinking about talking to your friends or family about your sexual identity then The Mix is here to help. If you need someone to talk to about this, then know that you’re not alone. Contact The Mix to talk to our team. All of our services are free, confidential and inclusive.

Our interview with Switchboard LGBT Helpline has advice on exploring your sexuality and dealing with homophobia.

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 26-Apr-2022

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