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We’ve all done it, in one form or another. Some with a little more
flair or fireworks than others, but we’ve all done it nonetheless.
Whether you kicked the door down and strutted out in full dyke
reg alia, ready to unleash your new out and proud self to the world – ready
or not, or you timidly tested the waters (or continue to do so), g radually
moving fur ther and further out of the proverbial closet and becoming
comfor table in your own skin, we have all manag ed to come out in one way
or another. This is no mean feat.
And while no two com-
ing out stories are identical,
the more you talk to pe ople
who have g one through it, the
more you realise that there are
some common themes that
emerg e. For some, being queer
is something they have always
suspe cted but have be en re-
luctant to acknowledge, both
to themselves and then to
disclose to others. For some
people, this means sometimes
hiding their fe elings for years,
including through long term
straight relationships, the rais-
ing of children, and even marriag es.
How coming out will affect your relationships with family, friends and
colleag ues is something that no one can be sure of, which is why for some
people, it is easier to ignore the issue for as long as possible. Unfortunately,
doing so can often result in a number of social and personal problems, in-
cluding depression, substance misuse or abuse, and isolation. Then again,
coming out and the p otentially neg ative reactions you receive from others
can be equally traumatic and result in similar problems. Catch 22 does not
even begin to cover it.
Then again, for all of those who have experienced a less than ideal re-
action to the big re velation, there are almost as many of us who, having
finally summe d up the courag e to disclose our news to those close to us,
re ceive nothing more than a ‘Yeah, and...?’ reaction from pe ople who se em
to have always known what we have only just discovered about ourselves.
Talk about ruining your big moment.
Gay and Lesbian Switchboard often re ceives calls from pe ople on the
brink of coming out, or who have ver y re cently done so. One of the benefits
of the peer counselling ser vice offere d by Switchboard is that all of our vol-
unteers have at some point experience d their own coming out, and while
ever yone’s stor y is unique, knowing that the person at the other end of the
phone has been through a similar process – and more importantly, made it
through to the other side – can often set a caller ’s mind at ease.
How coming out
will affect your
and colleagues, is
can be sure of...
Gay and Lesbian Switchboard
Counselling: 03 9663 2939 (Melbourne) or
1800 184 527 (regional Vic and Tas)
Monday to Thursday 6pm-10pm, Wednesdays 2pm-10pm,
Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 6pm-9pm
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