Skip to content

I am an LGBT therapist, and I am often asked "how do I come out?".  Below are suggestions for self-disclosure around sexuality and gender.  These suggestions were adapted from Arlene Istar Lev and Wayne Dhesi.

Coming Out Suggestions

  • If possible, begin working on accepting your sexuality or transgender identity first.
  • Develop a support network that will assist you through this process (therapist, peer group, electronic mailing list, etc.).
  • There is no “right way” to come out.  People have come out in numerous ways.
  • There is no prescription for how “out” you have to be.
  • Don’t let internal or external pressure dictate when and where you come out, unless you want to be out.
  • Consider preparing what you will say and practicing with a friend, therapist, or in the mirror.
  • Avoid overwhelming loved ones with too much information at once.
  • When you are first disclosing to loved ones, attempt to do it without your romantic partner present.
  • Keeping in mind that you have done your own acceptance work, attempt to be present for the other person and their issues. In that moment, try not to make it about you; instead focus on supporting them.   However, it is also important know your limits and to practice self-care by excusing yourself from abusive situations.
  • Just-in-case, prepare for others to be negative and ask foolish, judgmental, or even cruel questions. Remind them who you have always been to them and that who you are has not changed with this disclosure.
  • Do not act defensive or present yourself as mentally ill.
  • Do not pretend to have answers that you do not have.
  • Expect people to be inconsistent and labile in their emotional reactions.
  • Remember that it took you time to address your own sexuality or transgender issues. Do not expect your loved ones to simply accept it in one short talk. For some, coming to terms with your non-normative identity will take time.

Counseling Can Help

Counseling can help support you in your coming out journey.

It's time to heal...

Please contact Suzanne at (720) 443-1480 or email me to schedule an appointment.

This 7-week group is a supportive place for those that identify as women and want to explore what questioning, coming out, or being out means as related to their sexuality (i.e. for women attracted to women). Our aim is to counteract shame and to help participants see positive possibilities for living as queer, lesbian, bisexual, or sexually fluid.

Date/Time: 1st and 3rd Thursday of Month (except July 4th); 6:30-8:00 pm. Meeting dates are May 2nd & 16th, June 6th & 20th, July 18th, and August 1st & 15th, 2019.

Cost: Free, donations to People House welcome

Location: 3rd floor Loft at People House, 3055 West 25th Ave, Denver, 80211

Registration/Information: Drop-in group, RSVPs appreciated. Contact Suzanne Sellers at (720) 443-1480 or email her.

Subscribe to blog here.

Watching my niece and nephew coming into their teens reminds me of an aspect of coming out as bisexual, gay, lesbian, or queer.  Imagine a heterosexual 12-year old girl who has her first crush on a boy. There are plenty of movies and books that describe the overwhelming powerful feelings, including the debilitating tongue-tied awkwardness.  Then when a friend or family member discovers the crush, our heroine feels shame and embarrassment at having her feelings discovered; her desire is to hide and she may even refuse to talk about it.  As this girl matures into her teens, she becomes more comfortable with her sexuality.  She spends countless hours with her girlfriends giggling and talking about boys, learning to relate to the opposite sex until there comes a time when she no longer gives those awkward moments a second thought.

I believe that bisexual, gay, lesbian, or queer individuals that come out as being attracted to the same sex in adulthood often experience this period of awkwardness as well.  In addition to the shame that can be associated with homophobia, these individuals may go through this same growth process of discovering that they are tongue-tied around certain individuals, mortified if another soul discovers their feelings.  Accompanying this late rite of passage are the years of stifling messages from society that being attracted to the same sex is shameful, evil, wrong, and the list goes on.

My message for those that are in the process of coming out is to be patient with yourself and remind yourself that many heterosexual individuals have also gone through the growing pains of discovering their sexuality, albeit without the burden of homophobia.  My message for straight allies and bisexual, gay, lesbian, or queer individuals that have been long been out, give your friends and loved ones that are in the process of coming out the time and space to explore their sexuality without the pressure of having it occur on your timeline.

It's time to heal...

Please contact me at (720) 443-1480 or email me to schedule an appointment.

Subscribe to blog here.

Suzanne Sellers and Katlyn Von Muenster will be hosting a Women's Questioning/Coming Out/Being Out group at People House starting in January. This 8-week group is a supportive place for those that identify as women and want to explore what questioning, coming out, or being out means for their sexuality. Our aim is to counteract shame and to help participants see positive possibilities for living as queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or fluid.

It's time to heal...

Please contact me at (720) 443-1480 or email me to schedule an appointment.

Subscribe to blog here.