Sexuality is something that all people evaluate on a personal level at some point in their lives. When a person comes to the conclusion that they identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer, life literally opens up to them.

It’s one thing to acknowledge a same-sex orientation to one’s self. It’s another to inform friends and relatives. Coming out is not a casual event. It requires deep self-searching, planning, and mustering enough courage to proclaim something that has lasting effects with the relationships of family and friends.

Gaining the courage to come out to other people is difficult. Some individuals have the boisterous and forward personalities that make revealing orientations easy. However, most people struggling with sexuality issues do not. The notion of finally revealing your orientation to others can be stressful, but it can also be a success. A little planning and deep thought are necessary to make coming out a fruitful and overall stress-relieving life experience.

Learn About Others’ Coming Out Experiences

Before you decide to come out to others, take the time to hear what other people in the LGBTQ community have to say. There are endless videos and interviews available on the Internet wherein people describe their coming out experiences. Social media outlets are also great for learning about other people’s experiences. Learning how other people gained the courage to come out is a great way to start your own journey.

Identify a Safe Pre-Disclosure Friend

Revealing that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer doesn’t have to be a Times Square New Year’s Eve-type of event. There is no pressure to tell everyone at once. Seek out a friend or acquaintance who you know can handle the news in a gentle and mature manner. Don’t be afraid to tell them your secret in utter confidence. Once you realize that one person takes the news well, you will understand that the general public will likely take it the same way, as well. In short, gain courage by telling one or only a few close friends at a time.

Seek Professional Guidance

Expert counselors are available to assist you with sexuality and relationship issues. This includes coming out to friends and family. Counselors can provide you with many methods of visualizing the benefits of owning your orientation, while putting these thoughts into proactive motion. Just as a coach guides a young sports player into the competitive field, LGBTQ-friendly counselors can guide a person through the phase of proclaiming their orientation to others. This is one of the most difficult and rewarding phases of a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or a queer person’s life. The step to full freedom may not be easy, but it can be accomplished with a professional LGBTQ counselor’s help.

The most important thing to remember about your coming out path is that it is completely on your own terms. When you are ready to reveal your personal truth to others, never forget that there are trained professionals who can help you make it a courageous success.