12 Things To Do If You Suspect Someone Is In The Closet

1. Stop bugging them.

If you know someone who’s living in the closet, allow them to get out of it on their own. They’re probably struggling enough as it is, and they don’t need you to create another source of anxiety about their sexuality.

2. Don’t hint at it.

Look, if you’re not even sure if they’re in the closet, don’t go fishing for answers. Ambushing your friends with questions and comments can turn any friendly conversation into a minefield.

3. Don’t compare them to others.

Everyone has their own pace and way of doing things. There’s no point talking about yourself, or your cousin who came out to her entire family, or your friend who left home in his twenties.

4. Cut the gossip.

You hear the rumours, and maybe you do your part in keeping them going, but you shouldn’t. When someone starts speculating about another person’s sexuality, just leave it alone. Don’t get involved, and don’t perpetuate gossip.

5. Have a comeback ready.

If someone asks you, „is that guy gay?“ have an answer ready. Could be as simple as, „why don’t you ask him?“ Just avoid speculation and gossip.

6. Defend people from homophobia.

Even if someone isn’t out, they can suffer from homophobia, and it can be compounded because they’re not comfortable speaking to anyone about it. Just take a fundamental stand against homophobia, and show your closeted friends that they have your support.

7. But don’t feel like you need to cover for their lies.

Even if you’re trying to help someone who’s in the closet, you don’t need to lie or deceive others for them. Pretending to be in a relationship with someone, for instance, so that they can „pass“ as straight doesn’t help anyone. Empower your friends instead!

8. Don’t judge someone else’s motives.

There’s any number of reasons that someone might choose to stay in the closet. Their silence could stem from fear, personal biases, or from professional or family issues. Try not to judge others, or push them into something they’re not comfortable with.

9. Create a safe environment.

Don’t expect someone to be comfortable enough to come out to you if all you do is gossip and disparage others. Show empathy and trustworthiness. That’s the first step to getting others to open up.

10. Put yourself in their place.

Open up a little yourself, and tell your friend something personal about yourself. Share your secrets, and how they make you feel. By putting yourself in their shoes, you might start to understand how hard it is to be vulnerable.

11. Be real.

Sincerity is key. If you can maintain an honest relationship with someone, they won’t want to hide anything from you.

12. Never, under any circumstance, force someone out of the closet.

Blowing someone’s secret before their ready can be one of the most traumatizing things in a person’s life. If they are not ready, wait. Having your patience and support will make all the difference when they are ready.

DISCLAIMER* This article was originally written by Victor Nascimento and published on www.buzzfeed.com. I don’t own this nor I claim to have written this. This was just used as an example for a final project in my university.

Top 11 Tips for Coming Out as Lesbian, Gay or Bi

Coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual can be difficult, there’s no point pretending otherwise. However, many people have really positive experiences coming out and often regret not doing it sooner.

It’s really important, however, that you take the time to consider your own personal circumstances when making the decision to tell people close to you that you are lesbian, gay or bisexual. What may be right for one person, may not be right for you. Your safety and wellbeing should always come first.

Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities have many things in common and frequently align themselves with one another, the experiences of exploring your gender identity and coming out as trans can be very different to being open about your sexuality.

1. Don’t feel pressured.

Everyone should come out in their own time. You may feel under pressure to tell those close to you that you are lesbian, gay or bisexual before you are ready. Don’t. Coming out is about you and no one else. If you start to think about pleasing others you will lose sight of what is really important – your happiness. Focusing on yourself and what’s important to you will ultimately make those you’re close to happier as well.

2. Don’t label yourself if you don’t want to.

Although you may feel ready to come out, you may not feel you fit any particular ‘label’. Using terms like lesbian, gay and bisexual is absolutely fine, but never feel forced to identify as anything. Listen to your feelings and go with them! If a label helps you and feels right then great. If it doesn’t then don’t worry.

3. You don’t have to choose between your faith and your sexuality.

Most religions have groups for their lesbian, gay and bisexual followers. Go online to find a group near you. Having faith and being gay are not mutually exclusive!

4. Read how other people came out.

RUComingOut has over 300 real-life coming out stories as well as interviews from celebrities. Most people who come out go through the same anxieties and they experience very similar fears. Hearing how things turned out for others who were

5. Tell one person.

When you are ready to come out (you will know when the time feels right) – don’t think you have to tell everyone straight away –  it’s not a race! Choose one person who you trust more than anyone else – a friend, sibling, parent/guardian or teacher.

As soon as you’ve opened up to the first person things will seem a thousand times easier and clearer for you. It’s an age-old saying but talking really does help. You’ll also have someone you can talk to and ask advice from when coming out to others.

6. Forget the stereotypes.

When gay people first started to appear on TV and in the media, the stereotypes that were common were those of effeminate camp men and butch women. Some people still think that every gay man and woman have to fit that stereotype.

Others may feel that the stereotypes have flipped and gay men should be muscular and have beards while lesbians should have long blonde hair and wear lots of makeup!

The truth is, stereotypes suck and we all know they do. Being lesbian, gay or bi does not have to define you. If you’re camp, great. If you’re butch, fantastic. If you like going to the gym, good on you. If you prefer a good film to a good run, amazing.

Growing up (and discovering your sexuality) is all about finding out who you are, what you like and how you want to be and it’s an exciting time!

7. You’ll be protected at school, college and university.

Every school, college, uni and even workplace has a legal obligation to ensure that every one of its students or employees is treated fairly and offered the same opportunities. Many schools realise the importance of making sure their staff are trained to tackle homophobia when they see it.

Lots of schools even have their own LGBTQ student groups where students can meet and make friends. You should never feel pressured to join a group like this, but you may find that you meet loads of other people who have been, or are going through, similar experiences as you.

8. Think about the positives.

It is very easy to let the anxieties and fears around coming out completely take over the experience. But remember, coming out is one of the most amazing things you will ever do. You will finally be able to be your whole self and it WILL change your life.

Those butterflies you feel in your stomach – see them as excitement rather than nerves!

9. Some people do have negative experiences.

There’s no point denying it. That’s why it’s important that if you decide the time is right for you to come out, make sure you have a safety net if things don’t go to plan. There is support available if you find yourself feeling lost or alone.

10. Give people time.

You may have had years to get to a place where you are comfortable with being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Just think though, those people who you will be telling will have a split second to give you a reaction. Give them a chance to digest the news. It may come as a complete surprise. Surprise and shock doesn’t mean disapproval from them.

They may have questions, so pre-empt what these could be and be prepared to support them too. They may need your support as much as you need theirs!

11. Start living!

You will be amazed at how free you will feel once you have come out. Obviously, the experience is different for everyone and at times it may not go as well as you’d like.

Just remember that you are doing the right thing, you are allowing yourself to be who you were always meant to be and this means you can start living YOUR life! Remember to create that safety net around you though, just in case things don’t go exactly to plan

DISCLAIMER* This article was originally written by Wayne Dhesi and published on www.ditchthelabel.org. I don’t own this nor I claim to have written this. This was just used as an example for a final project in my university.