by Terri Clark, MPH, CHES
As published in the Philadelphia Gay News, 1-19-12.
“Coming out” is the term LGBT people use to describe the process of disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to other people. It’s very often a scary and risky experience. I’m sure that most of us who have been through the process can recall the feelings of hope and fear that mingled with pure need. Though some come out in high school or college, many disclose and/or discover their sexual orientation later in life. Images in the media show young people telling their friends and family that they are gay, which often leaves the older set at a loss for examples and models….
Thinking about coming out in your senior years?
Here are a few tips:
- Educate yourself. You are not alone. People discover their sexual identity and come out at all ages, for many different reasons. By understanding this, and finding examples of others who have taken a similar path, you can feel less isolated.
- Find community. There are many LGBT resources for finding a supportive community. Reach out to the William Way LGBT Community Center or the LGBT Community Center Coalition of Central PA. Connecting with others and discovering the same struggles and joys creates a feeling of solidarity.
- Find support. Come out initially to people who you know/think will be supportive. It is important to find friends or family members that are understanding, compassionate and, most importantly, happy about the discovery you have made. (It’s quite possible that not everyone will be supportive.) The more positive reactions you get, the better you’ll feel — and you’ll be better able to develop your confidence in coming out.
Read entire article: http://www.sexualityandaging.com/coming-out-is-ageless/