This new book aims to be the definitive guide to coming out.
Coming out in 1996 was completely different from coming out in today’s society. Author Michael Ryan knows this first-hand—when he came out eighteen years ago, there weren’t very many resources available. Even though society has come a long way since then, there’s still a huge need for support. As a therapist, Michael sees this in his own life, as well—many of his clients are gay and struggling with their identities.
That’s part of what inspired him to write “The Complete Guide to Gay Life For New Explorers,” a book for LGBT youth ages 14 and older. The book, which is available on Amazon, aims to help queer youth and allies come to terms with their identities, understand what it’s like to be gay and learn how to be a better ally.
The first step? Learning to accept being gay as a normal thing, according to this excerpt:
There is nothing wrong with you. You are not abnormal or odd or ill. You are just gay. This is not something that you have chosen. You may need a bit of time to accept this. You may not have thought you would be this way, and at first you may not want to accept it, but if you continue reading, you’ll discover that being gay is just a part of you and not the whole of who you are. Remember, you have done nothing wrong, you are perfectly normal, and you can be happy being gay.
Accepting yourself as gay is only one of the topics covered in “The Complete Guide…” The book presents answers to more than 200 questions, like “Who can I talk to about being gay?” and “How do I avoid HIV and AIDS?”
In this exclusive excerpt, Michael addresses one of the most important topics to LGBT youth—coming out. Check out his 10 tips below, and check out his book for more advice on being healthy, happy and gay.
1. The person you come out to first should be someone you trust. Ideally an adult who can keep the news in confidence. Good examples are parents, teachers, doctors, relatives, counselors, team coaches, youth workers and neighbors.
2. You may tell them in person, by phone or by writing it on a piece of paper and handing it to them. You will benefit from getting some instant feedback and re-assurance so try to avoid texting it or sending it in an email or through social media.
3. If you don’t have a trusted adult in your life that you can tell – then look up the nearest LGBT Helpline in your area and speak to them. They are trained to listen without judgement and will be able to advise you and let you know what other supports are available in your area.
4. If you decide to come out fully and tell everyone that you are gay – try to avoid coming out to your friends and family through social media. People will prefer to hear the news first hand from you personally as support you better that way.
5. Try to tell you closest friends in person before the rest of the world knows. They deserve to hear it from you before they hear it from others. This allows them to show that they are OK with it and also allow you to answer any questions or deal with any concerns that they might have.
6. When you tell your parents – give them time to take in the news. They may be in shock, confused, annoyed, angry, upset, delighted, anxious or indifferent. Either way, they all need time to take it in and will probably have a lot of things to discuss. Just take it slowly and if you don’t know the answers to their questions, just tell them so in a calm manner. You are probably fairly new to all this also and won’t have all the answers, even for your own questions.
7. In relation to school – If you have come out to your family and friends, it is easier to be in control of the news by coming out in school before someone outs you (even by accident). Once you declare that you are gay, this disarms the bullies as they see you are proud and in charge of your life and they have nothing to hold over you.
8. When you come out, you don’t necessarily need to change anything about yourself just because you have come out as being gay. You can dress, walk, talk, act and behave just as you did before. You are the same you and you don’t have to fit into any stereotypes. That said – don’t be afraid to show some of your creative flamboyance if that’s your thing.
9. If anybody bullies you for coming out gay, report them to the school authorities or the police. Bullying is a really serious matter and you deserve to live a peaceful happy life, free of bullies.
10. If there is a youth group for LGBT people in your area, it is really useful to join up, as you get to meet other young LGBT people who are also going through similar experiences as you are and this can be a really supportive environment. If there is none in your locality you should join recognized LGBT online forums which offer similar support.
“The Complete Guide to Gay Life for New Explorers (The Definitive Coming Out book)” by Michael Ryan is available in hardback, paperback and e-book from Amazon.