What you can do

National Coming Out Day 2018

This National Coming Out Day, Wayne Dhesi, Stonewall’s Youth Programmes Manager and creator of RUComingOut, tells us why it’s so important to keep sharing our coming out stories.

Everyone’s coming out story is different and unique, but all of these experiences make us and our community who we are today.

When we talk about and share what coming out was like for us, we can offer much needed strength and support to those who may be struggling with similar fears and anxiety we once faced. 

Telling someone about your sexuality and/or gender identity should always be a personal decision and no one should ever feel pressured to come out.  It’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong and to trust what feels right to you.

When we talk about and share what coming out was like for us, we can offer much needed strength and support to those who may be struggling with similar fears and anxiety we once faced.

People can often forget that coming out is usually not just a one-off event. While you might already be open about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity to those close to you, you might not be out to everyone in your family, workplace or school. Only half of lesbian, gay, bi people (46 per cent) and trans people (47 per cent) feel able to be open about who they are to their whole family. While more than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) have hidden their identity at work. Concerns about personal safety and fears about discrimination can all play a part in someone’s decision to come out. 

Even though we’ve made huge strides towards legal equality in the last few decades, it’s clear there’s still plenty more work to do before everyone can feel free to be themselves. In schools, workplaces and universities, LGBT people still face challenges that prevent them from feeling able to be themselves. Whether that’s hearing ‘you’re so gay’ in the playground, or colleagues making homophobic jokes and passing this off as ‘banter’. 

Everyone has a role in supporting, championing and promoting an inclusive culture for all LGBT people. If you’re not LGBT, you can potentially play a hugely significant role in supporting someone who is coming out and making that experience as positive as it can be for them. You can also step up and challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination you might hear, whenever it’s safe to do so.

Telling our coming out stories is an incredibly powerful way that we can come together as a community and show that we are there for one another.

National Coming Out Day is an important opportunity to not just reflect on the challenges our community continues to face today, but also to celebrate all LGBT identities. Telling our coming out stories is an incredibly powerful way that we can come together as a community and show that we are there for one another. It also gives our allies a chance to make a renewed commitment to #ComeOutForLGBT.  

Stonewall have a range of resources to help LGBT people who may be thinking about coming out, as well as some great advice and programmes for those who want to be better LGBT allies.

Happy National Coming Out Day 2018!

Coming Out – Support and Advice
Allies Programme
Trans Allies Programme