Responses to Coming Out

There’s a mix of responses you could receive after coming out. You cannot always know what to expect, so it is best to prepare for anything.

  • Some people will be happy you felt comfortable enough to be open with them
  • Some will become more supportive over time
  • It may just be that you took them completely by surprise 
  • Give them some time to think about what you’ve shared—just as you needed some time to think about how you would share with them
  • In the worst-case scenario, some may lash out
  • Family members may say hurtful things, kick you out, or cause physical harm
  • Friends may bully you, stop talking, to you, or threaten to end the friendship

Why might someone react negatively?

  • Our culture is not always accepting of others who are different
  • It is not an excuse, but it could help you understand why some people react the way they do
  • A negative reaction is not your fault—unfortunately, it is how some people were taught to think

Despite why some people may find accepting your identity challenging, the truth is:

You are not alone

  • Many of us still face discrimination, but we are making progress together! See Dealing with Discrimination for more information.
  • You will find people who will be truly supportive and like you for who you are

It’s not your fault

  • Your family or friends might not accept you, but this does not make you a bad person

Accepting yourself is an incredible accomplishment

  • Sharing your true self with others is very brave

It is normal to feel hurt if others don’t accept you

  • Rejection is painful—you may feel unloved, abandoned, devastated, guilty, or confused
  • Negative reactions often come from fear or not knowing what to do

Abuse of any kind is unacceptable

  • Physical, verbal, and/or emotional
  • If you are in an abusive situation reach out for help here:

Turn to your accepting friends and other support systems

  • Times like these can strengthen your relationships

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