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Coming out is a process, and it’s different for everyone. There isn’t one right way to do it, and you can come out on your own terms in whatever way feels best for you.

Who should I come out to?

Deciding who to tell can be an important decision. Think about the people you’re closest to and who would love and accept you no matter what — those people can help support you as you come out to others in your life.

If you live with or depend upon your parents for financial support, and you think that coming out could get you kicked out of the house or put you in an unsafe situation, you might consider waiting to tell them until you’re more independent.

You don’t have to tell everyone at the same time. It’s a process, and it doesn’t need to happen all at once. While you might be super excited to share your sexual orientation or gender identity with the world, sometimes it’s best to deal with each situation and relationship separately and thoughtfully. Remember that it can be difficult to predict how someone will react when you come out. So try to be prepared for any reaction you might get — both positive and negative. And know that no matter what, you’re not alone.

What’s the best way to come out?

There’s no “right” way to come out. The way you come out has only one rule: it should feel right to you.

If you think someone that you’re coming out to might have a negative response, it’s a good idea to have a plan for how you’ll deal with it. Set up some support ahead of time from a person who knows and loves you.

You might decide to have an in-person conversation with the person or people you want to come out to, or you might decide that it’s better to write an email or letter. If you’re talking face-to-face, pick a time and place that makes you (and them) feel relaxed, without distractions. Writing a letter or email can be a good option if you’re worried about saying things the right way, if you want to give the person time to think through their response, or if you don’t feel comfortable talking in person.

Don’t worry if the person you come out to doesn’t react the way you’d hoped right away. Sometimes it takes a while for people to adjust — what you’ve told them might be surprising or unexpected for them. They might just need some time to process it before they give you their support.

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