Coming Out in School
By Ramon Johnson, About.com Guide
Is This Your Year To Come Out?Another summer down and you’re back in school. It’s time to meet up with old friends and make new ones. For the most part, the summer gives you the freedom to be who you want and hang out with the people you like most. But when classes start, things change.
Back to school for me was always a mix of excitement and anxiety. I didn’t come out until college, but I thought about coming out in high school every year. Why didn’t I? Fear, mostly. I wasn’t sure how my friends and parents would take it. Sure, I’d feel better about being open, but what would I be left with if things didn’t go my way? After all, when the bell rang, I was stuck with the same group of kids whether I liked them or not.
College allows you the freedom to schedule your way to comfort, but most of high school is dictated for you. Still, the choice to come out is yours. Is this the year? Here are a few tips to consider before taking the plunge:
When it’s time, it’s time.
The desire to come out is like a burning sensation in your chest that gets warmer as you grow tired of keeping it inside. Sometimes it get so hot you want to scream the fiery words to everybody you know. And then something holds you back and the sensation cools for only a short time. How do you know when it’s time to put out the fire? When all you can think about is coming out. When you’re fed up with hiding something from those you care about. When you stop caring about what others think. When the need to be yourself is greater than the any consequence you can think of.
Who’s out, who’s not.
You’ll hear most older gays say that there were less than a handful (if any) kids out when they were in school. People are more open about sexuality now, so more students are out in school. Who’s who in your class? Support is the best thing to have while coming out. Just because a kid is gay doesn’t mean you’ll vibe with him or her, but consider getting to know them and asking about their experiences.
Get experience where you can.
Sometimes we find support in the most unlikely of places. Give your straight friends a try. Come out to your most trusted friend first. Then spread the word to others. The key is to stick with those that are cool with you being gay and ditch those that are shady about your sexuality.