4 Ways to Support Someone Coming Out To You

Pride Flag and Trans Flag Combined

Pride Month is such an important annual event — both for the LGBTQ+ community to be seen, supported, and celebrated, and for all of us to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, the injustices they face, the joy they experience when empowered to be fully themselves, their contributions to making the world a better place, and so much more.

While we’re hopeful for a day when “coming out” isn’t even a thing that happens — until then we want to be as supportive as we can be to those who do.

Here are a few ways you can support a friend, family member, or anyone who comes out to you — during Pride Month and all year round.

How To Support Someone & What To Say When They Come Out:

1. Do your research ahead of time.

By intentionally learning about the LGBTQ+ community, you can spare your friend from uncomfortable questions that could be better answered with a quick Google search.

GLAAD has long been at the forefront of fighting for LGBTQ+ acceptance and representation in society. Check out some of their resources at glaad.org.

A great place to start is also The Pride Edition of the Goodnewspaper — it includes an exclusive interview with 5 people in the LGBTQ+ community on what they wish more people understood.

2. Ask the right questions.

The key: Don’t make it about you. Rather, ask questions that make the person coming out to you feel seen, heard, and supported. If you’re not sure if your question is appropriate, hold off asking it for now.

Ask questions like “What can I do to be the best support system possible?" “How do you identify, if at all?” or "Are there any events I can attend to show my support and allyship?"

3. Encourage & validate them.

It can take a lot of courage to come out, so express how honored you are that they shared with you. Show that you embrace — not just accept — their identity. Affirm that you love them, support them, and are excited for them.

Avoid diminishing this courage by saying something like, "I don't care!" which sounds okay, but can come across as dismissive.

Instead, say something like “Thank you so much for trusting me and telling me that.”

4. Be an ally.

Make it clear that you're here to support them anytime and that you're a safe place. 

Be prepared to stand up for them if they experience harassment — help remove them from the situation, or respond directly to any disrespectful, hateful, or ignorant comments.

Put in the work to support the entire LGBTQ+ community, too — in the language you use, how you vote, the policies you advocate for, and how you interact with others.

Article Details

May 31, 2021 5:00 PM
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