Answers To Your Coming Out Questions
A lot of our readers have reached out with questions about coming out and we want to use this page to answer them! We hope by sharing our coming out experiences and tips with you, you'll feel less alone in this process. Wherever you are in the world, know that we're rooting for you. :)
If you have more coming out questions, you can always submit your questions here.
How did you know you were gay?
We both had similar signs, yet different experiences when it came to realizing that we were gay.
We go into more depth in our blog posts here:
Did you ever feel bad about being gay or just really wanted to be straight?
Definitely, and I think that’s a normal part of the process of accepting and coming to terms with who you are, especially when you realize that you’re different from the majority of the people around you.
I grew up in a traditional Asian household with a single mom. I wanted more than anything to make her proud and I knew that being gay would break her heart. I wanted to be straight so she would be happy, but when you get older you realize that you have to first be happy with yourself before you can make others happy–and you can't be happy if you feel bad about a part of you that you can't change.
Yes, absolutely! And this was something that I struggled with for a long time. I’ve always been a simple person who preferred avoiding drama and conflict whenever possible. This meant that growing up, I wanted to choose the easier way to live life and I desperately hoped that I was straight even though I noticed I had crushes on girls.
I would eagerly jump to the assumption that my lack of interest in boys was just because I was a late bloomer and that one day I'd wake up and be "normal".
Of course, that day never came, and I ultimately had to go through a few phases of accepting myself, coming out, and then being proud and grateful for who I am and for going through these experiences.
I go into more detail in my blog post here about how I dealt with knowing that I was gay.
How did you two come out?
You can read our coming out comics here:
- Coming Out (Part 1)
- Coming Out (Part 2: Poppy's Story)
- Coming Out (Part 3: Chia's Story I)
- Coming Out (Part 3: Chia's Story II)
On a scale of 1-10, how scared were you guys to come out?
Poppy: 10 – I wanted to avoid coming out especially to my mom for as long as possible. Most of my closest friends throughout school and college also had no idea I was gay.
It wasn’t until I found the love of my life (and the most amazing person I know) that I felt I could no longer hide who I was, and I decided to come out to my mom. The process of coming out to her was definitely terrifying. It’s never easy, but I felt like the world was lifted off of my shoulders once I did.
Was it hard to come out and who was the first person you told?
Coming out was definitely one of the hardest things we'd ever done in our lives.
For me (Poppy), while I knew I was a lesbian at an early age, I didn’t come out to anyone until over a decade later. I came out to my close friends in college first and then my aunt before coming out to my mom (which was the hardest person for me to come out to) a year later.
For Chia, she came out to one of her best friends first and then had to come out to her parents twice.
For both of us, it always felt like we were carrying a weight on our shoulders before we were able to finally live our lives openly and happily. 🌈
What advice would you give someone who is trying to come out?
- Do it on your own time. It's helpful to also make sure that you also have the resources to be independent when you do come out in case you need to separate yourself from your family and friends for a period of time.
- Start by telling just one person. That initial barrier is the hardest to break, but once you break it, you build the confidence and momentum to keep going.
- Be prepared to explain and answer questions, but don’t be offended. Coming out is not just a difficult and nerve-wracking experience for you, it's also a new and potentially uncomfortable experience for the person you're coming out to. They’ll have a lot of questions they want to ask and it's a sign that they're trying to make an effort to understand. It’s also an opportunity to open up their minds. Everyone needs to start somewhere.
- Get ready to come out more than once. This sounds tiring, but overtime it really gets easier and easier. While you can always decide to not come out to new friends, coworkers, strangers that you meet, you'll inevitably want to share this part of yourself with new people that come into your life.
I'm a girl who recently started liking girls. I'm confused about my sexuality.
You're not alone here and it's totally ok to feel confused. We've been there before and we go into more depth about this topic in our blog post here.
Does having dated guys make me less of a true lesbian?
Absolutely not. This is often a common misconception and source of guilt for many lesbians who at one point weren’t sure that they were gay and might have identified as straight. Being a lesbian isn’t a game where you keep score of how “lesbian” your dating record is. You don’t get negative points for having dated men in the past and you don’t get bonus points for being a “gold star” lesbian -- that doesn’t make anyone any more or less of a “true” lesbian.
Both Chia and I have dated boys before we dated girls and we both had different experiences and reasons for doing so. You can read our more in-depth response to this question here.
How do you deal with homophobic parents or people?
Dealing with homophobia is something that both Chia and I experienced often growing up and here’s a post that goes more extensively into how I (Poppy) have dealt with it.
Sadly, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question because everyone is different and it also depends on a lot of other factors in your life. But in general, here are some principles that may help you deal with homophobia more effectively:
- Slowly, but surely. One of the things I’ve come to learn over the years is that, just like how different people may come out earlier or later in life, the time it takes to change people’s minds and beliefs can vary. Sometimes, it can take a really, really long time. One of the hardest things to do is to learn to be patient and try to find common ground with the other person. Ultimately, if we can develop genuine relationships and connections with people who are different from us, we show the world that what unites us is greater than what divides us.
- You can either curl up or stand up. When facing any hardship or obstacle in life, we can choose to get bitter about it or turn lemons into lemonade. Don’t dwell too much on how others view you but, instead, stay confident and focus on the positives. Maintaining optimism and focusing on things you can control can make a big difference in how you handle these situations and also give you a happier and healthier outlook on life overall.
- Be smart about it. As much as I wanted to defend myself every time someone said something that offended me, I’ve also come to learn to be smart about it. Sometimes being civil and letting things go is a better choice than exerting a ton of time and energy into a method that won’t effectively change anything or risk putting yourself in danger. At the end of the day, I realized that the smartest thing I could do was to actually focus on improving myself and working hard to achieve financial independence so that I could be free to live my ideal life with my partner.
Can you write a shortlist of some fun, easy, and random-in-the- middle-of-a-conversation ways to come out?
Stay tuned for this one...