Coming out is not a must-do; it’s your life, so it’s on your terms. You don’t owe it to anyone.
When it comes to your family, the process is always made easier by spotting a family member who has said something positive about queer people and would not ostracise you. They can help you plan who, how and when to tell.
To come out to a close, supportive friend before your family is often better, especially if you have no one receptive at home.
Find a private place where you feel safe. Reassure your friend that you love them and would like to share this important part of who you are with them. Clarify that they are being told this news in confidence.
I found a huge community online before I came out, one that continues to support me today – whether I’m in need of a job to pay rent or just an ear to rant to.
During my first two years on Twitter, I didn’t use my real name or a picture of my face. But now I was out on Twitter and could write about queer life. I did the same thing on Facebook and it was a healing process.
There are many organisations that offer queer people safe and discreet assistance.
If you live in Joburg, Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action offers Thursday hangouts (gala.co.za) and has a queer library. The SA Depression and Anxiety Group has a 24-hour helpline (080 012 1314) should you need to talk.
Bhengu is studying economics and is an independent researcher at Wits University.
Follow him on Twitter @fistvoices THABISO BHENGU
Coming out of the closet is a choice that’s up to you