LIFE

CityPress - - The Good Guide -

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

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Com­ing out of the closet is a choice that’s up to you

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