Home' LOTL : June 2011 Contents 17
lotl.com • Lesbians On The Loose Magazine
Twenty10 explores the coming out process.
By Terence Humphreys
RE-LAUNCH IN JUNE
CHECK IT OUT!!!
REACHING THE PINNACLE
Coming Out (or coming out of the
closet) is the process by which a person
acknowledges, accepts and discloses to
others a part of their identity, usually in regards
to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Academics and psychologists say that ‘coming
out’ usually has a positive effect on self esteem
and many people think today’s society is ac-
cepting of diversity such as same-sex attraction
or gender diversity. Yet many young people to -
day are still rejected by their peers and families
or kicked out of home for being themselves . So
is it better to be ‘out’ than in?
“Coming -out of the closet” might not sit
right for some people so an alternative to con-
sider is “an invitation into your life” (see “An
invitation to come into my life” on our web -
site). It is also important to remember that
coming out is largely a Western concept that
may not be realistic or rele vant for ever yone
or ever y situation.
Many young people today say they feel
pressured to come out by their peers, but it’s
important to remember that you don’t have
to come out and it should always be a choice.
No -one has the right to decide the timing of it
for you, either speeding it up, or delaying it. It
doesn’t have to be a dramatic statement either.
You don’t have to scream “I’m Queer” from the
rooftops either - you can be selective so that
you feel in control of the process of coming
out, as wel l as how, when and to whom.
If you are considering coming out, consider
what would be safest for you, what you would
feel comfortable with, and consider the poten-
tial consequences. Despite the way it happens
in T V soaps or movies, coming out is not a one
off event; it takes courage, time and patience.
Tips for coming out safely:
Choose wisely if and when you’ll come out,
to whom, and how (e.g . in person or in a let-
ter, alone or with others etc).
It can help to prepare what you will say and
how you will say it, by writing it down or re-
hearsing with a support person. Think about
the type of questions your family or friends
will have and consider how you’ll answer
them (e.g . How do you know ? Was it some-
thing I did wrong ? Is it a mental illness ? etc).
Many websites list common questions and
sug g ested answers.
The way you feel about your sexuality or
gender diversity often has a huge impact on
people’s reactions. If you fe el uncertain or dis-
traught, telling people while you are cr ying ,
then chances are they’ll think it’s a bad thing
because you’re unhappy. If you show you are
proud and happy with who you are, then their
reaction is much more likely to focus on the
It is likely that some one you tell won’t re-
spond well so its important to consider how
you’ll handle it. S ome people choose to have a
support person nearby. For example, in a local
café or in another room.
For more information including a Com-
ing Out Tipsheet, visit: twenty10.org.
A place to be you It takes money and sound advice to build a career
and, thanks to the generosity of a volunteer organi-
sation, the sky’s the limit for lesbian students. Cathy
Five lesbians are being primed as future community lead-
ers after being named as recipients of a scholarship fund
designed for gay and lesbian students.
In its second year, The Pinnacle Foundation awarded finan-
cial grants and appointed mentors to seven students, also
including two gay men, from Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide
and Perth. Modelled on US-based Point Foundation, and
established to assist LGBTIQ students in senior high school
and graduate courses who may have suffered hardship as
a result of their sexuality; it recognises the importance of
education, and is dedicated to creating the queer leaders
of tomorrow in all vocational fields.
This year’s recipients study across a variety of fields.
Perth’s Suzie Day is completing a BA in Library and Infor-
mation Management while Melbourne’s Michelle Slattery
is studying Social Science. From Sydney, Veronica Mason
is studying Arts/Law, Harriet Harding Music Composition
and Isobel Connell is undertaking a Law Degree.
The recipients are given cash grants and paired with a
lesbian mentor who is a leader in the profession for which
they are studying. Management committee member Su-
san Brooks says it’s a valuable program for those who
need assistance. “We look for a good academic record, but
also for people who have been disadvantaged, who may
have been bullied or kicked out of home,” she told LOTL.
Applicants must also have shown an interest in activism
and leadership. “We want these scholars to go out and
be leaders,” Brooks said. “So they need to have shown an
interest in some form of human rights. It doesn’t have to
be gay, but associated.”
Melbourne-based recipient Michelle Slattery found out
about the scholarship program via Facebook . “Even
though I’ve always been involved in the lesbian communi-
ty, it was confronting at first to make yourself vulnerable,”
she says of applying. She admits the money is less impor-
tant than the support she now receives from her mentor
Julie Campbell. “We are marginalised just by being gay,
and we have to keep coming out all the time, whether it’s
for a job, applying for a house and to have someone as a
professional who understands that is amazing.”
For more information see our story overleaf or
people today are
still rejected by
peers & family
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