Coming out can be an agonizing ordeal for LGBTQ people all over the world and especially in India. There’s the potential to be harassed, neglected, bullied, and even rejected once you come out. However, it can be helpful to come out. For one, you become more comfortable with yourself and this might be just what you need to live a happy life.
No matter how you choose to reveal this part of your life, you should be prepared to do it. There’s no one path to coming out and everyone will have different challenges, surroundings, and needs. ultimately, coming out becomes a unique experience for every gay person.
Let’s address the process of coming out in India and some possible challenges you may face so you know how to tackle them.
- Coming Out to Yourself First
Before you come out to other people, you have to be comfortable with who you are. This helps you build your confidence and be ready to come out to your intended audience. There are many different ways of coming out to yourself. For starters, you could look into the mirror and tell yourself who you really are. Acknowledge that this is you and build confidence to come out to other people. If you aren’t confident, getting the support you need and acceptance as well will be a tall order.
- Make Sure You’re Safe
As much as coming out can be exciting and make you feel daring or exhilarated, in India, it can be dangerous. The first thing you should consider before you come out to someone is whether it’s safe to do so. In India most of the obstacles include out of date laws, large families, and religion. Consider whether it would be safe to come out to your immediate family. Are you at risk of being kicked out from the only home you have? Could they hurt you or mock you?
If you feel that coming out due to your surroundings is risky, definitely don’t come out to them. Additionally, you might face workplace discrimination as an LGBTQ person in India especially if you want to hold any government office. Your safety should be the number one priority and if it’s compromised, don’t do it. If you’re unsure, consider having a backup plan in case things go downhill. This could be extra money, somewhere to stay, or a friend that can look out for you.
Many people including families in India still aren’t OK with the LGBTQ community. As we mentioned above, it’s important to have a backup plan in case things don’t go as you expected. Independence means you have a fall back plan in the event of a nasty reaction to coming out. Having a job you can rely on, a place to live, and financial security for a little while will ensure you’re safe especially as a youth if your family holds off support from you. In the event you can’t be independent find someone you trust to depend on.
- Know the Challenges and Laws
You will be better equipped as an LGBTQ individual if you can learn about the law. Learn about Section 377 that allows sex between gay people. Understand that gay marriages aren’t recognized officially and that trans people may have a hard time obtaining welfare. Take time to understand laws that apply to you as a gay person and educate yourself about the LGBTQ community.
As we mentioned, there’s no right way for you to come out. Everyone has a different experience. However, following our advice above will make you feel more prepared to come out.