Important Questions when Coming out

Authors: Dr. phil. Ulli Biechele, Dipl.-Psych. Margret Göth, Dipl.-Psych. Thomas Heinrich und Dipl.-Psych. Andrea Lang

During the coming out process, it is important forbothyourself and those close to youto answer certain questions such as:

  • Can I really live my real feelings, even thoughI might not get much support initially?  
  • How can I get to know other LGBTQI*persons?
  • Which similarities and parallels, but also which differences are there between them and me?
  • What does it mean for me to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex or queer?
  • Do I want to label myself as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex or queer?
  • How can I be proud of this side of me?
  • And many other questions.

How being an LGBTQI*person actually is in reality depends on many individual factors, e.g. your age, your own attitude towards sexual orientation and gender identity, your religion and spirituality, information about and contact with other LGBTQI*persons, and of course your own family and friends. There are as many ways to live as an LGBTQI*person as there are LGBTQI*persons. Your ownpath to this isstrongly influenced by the time in life in whichyou come out, but there are of course many opportunities later in life to change this.

Which questions arise when a person realizes that they are not cisgender?

Some trans* people are already able to express their gender clearly in early childhood, whereas others undergo a realization process of a number of years. Those who deviate from the binary, cisgender notions that prevail in our society often have to justify themselves and are often discriminated against as a result. Therefore, not everyone decides to come out. For many people, the process of coming out is, to a large extent, lengthy and exhausting. After becoming aware of being trans*, trans* people often have to ponder the impact that coming out externally could have, not only on themselves and their daily life, but also on their social environment and their life path. Even long after all steps in their transition have been completed, situations can still arise where coming out might be necessary. Often therefore, new answers have to be sought and possibilities and consequences weighed up.

Possible questions that trans* people may ask themselves:

Which toilet should I use? How do I behave in other gender-segregated areas? What clothes do I buy? In which cases in medical treatment does it make sense to disclose my trans* background?

How do I deal with questions and uncertainties in my circle of friends? Will people stop contacting me? What does me being trans* mean for my sexuality? Does my sexual orientation or its designation change? Can my family deal with the questions and discrimination that they may be confronted with because of me?

What effects does coming out have on my job/education? What are the goals of my transition? How much time will it take and what financial effects could it have on me? What does this mean for my future path in life?

This multitude of questions can cause stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Trans* people can get the impression that they are not allowed to show their questions, fears and uncertainties regarding their transition to the outside world and that they have to convey an image of absolute security, as their self-expression could be questioned and steps towards their transition could be refused or delayed. It can therefore be helpful to confront these issues with a therapist and gain support in order to work out strategies together.

Last updated: 02/26/2021 - 10:52

nach oben