Coming out is the process of living an open and affirming life. There is not a specific process or plan for coming out. Many people start by telling close friends and family who they know will be supportive. Then, they branch out and tell other people who may or may not be supportive. Whatever your plan, be sure to have a reliable support network to help you navigate your process. For more information about coming out, read the articles below.
Please note: This information should be seen as a guide only, not a definitive list of steps which should be taken. Ultimately, each person will know how to best managed coming out.
Coming out can be an isolating and terrifying process to undertake. The best way to manage these feelings is to build a social support community who will affirm your identity, validate your feelings, and actively support you in your coming out and transition. Finding a support group in your local community is always a good first step. Additionally, these groups may be able to help connect you with resources to help in your transition. If you live in more isolated communities far from local support, internet support groups can be a source of strength for many.
Additionally, it is strongly recommended that you seek the support of a qualified therapist. While many transgender folk see therapists as a gatekeeper for trans related care, truly affirming therapists can help transgender individuals navigate the damage and trauma associated with years of oppression and the denial of identity. For many transgender people it takes years of therapy to undo all of the harm created by our transphobic society. Truly affirming therapists will not focus on having you prove you are transgender, rather they will help you identify and fix the trauma you have experienced.
Sadly, mental health care providers (and health care providers) are not always up to speed on the best practices, and many may espouse non-affirming views of transgender folk, so proceed with caution. Learn more on how to find an affirming therapist or medical provider.
MOST IMPORTANTLY make sure you have a crisis plan in case you need it during this very stressful time. See our crisis resources for more information.