On #NationalComingOutDay, thousands took to Twitter and other social media to share their coming out stories, as well as what they want people to know about the process.
Past studies have shown that people in the LGBTQI community are more likely to experience depression than the heterosexual population. But some research shows that coming out can lower your chances of experiencing anxiety and depression, both symptoms of the chronic stress that staying “in the closet” can cause.
However, for many, there are barriers to coming out, such as fears for personal safety, social isolation, and harassment. These and other barriers are very real.
Here are some touching and essential things to remember as we celebrate National Coming Out Day.
1. Coming out starts from within
#NationalComingOutDay doesn't mean you have to come out to the world. Start with accepting who you are first & be happy with that - I love u— Kodi Gaddis (@KodiGaddis) October 11, 2017
2. People should be allowed to come out when they’re ready, and on their own terms
#NationalComingOutDay— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) October 11, 2017
1. You don't have to
2. Don't feel obligated to
3. Come out when YOU are ready
4. Coming out is about you, not others
At your pace, on your terms.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 11, 2017
Your happiness and safety are paramount.
Sending endless love your way. #NationalComingOutDay
Don't feel pressured into doing it.— Iain (@BeaIe_) October 11, 2017
You'll know when the time is right for you.
Write your own story #NationalComingOutDay
I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH.. COME OUT ONLY WHEN YOU’RE READY, AND ONLY COME OUT FOR YOURSELF NOT ANYONE ELSE #NationalComingOutDay— spooky lil twink (@oraltwjnk) October 11, 2017
3. For many, coming out isn’t just one moment — it’s an endless series of moments
You don't come out *once*, like in a soap. You make that decision every time you meet new people, at work or socially. #NationalComingOutDay— Philip Ellis (@Philip_Ellis) October 11, 2017
I came out at 19. Then again at 21, 23, 25 etc. Coming out is rarely a singular event. All the days are alive. #NationalComingOutDay— Denice Frohman (@denicefrohman) October 11, 2017
#NationalComingOutDay sometimes coming out is less like a closet, and more like a revolving door. it can be exhausting but. stay true to yourself out there— arin hamhunk (@lordbilingual) October 11, 2017
4. No one has the right to come out on another person’s behalf
Remember that on #NationalComingOutDay it's not OK to out someone against their will even if they're out to you. Keep them safe.— Daddy Spice Monkey (@ravingsockmonky) October 11, 2017
Friendly reminder that tomorrow is #NationalComingOutDay and please don't pressure queer friends to come out if they aren't ready.— mason™ (@masondeaver) October 10, 2017
5. And you should only come out when you feel like you’re in a safe environment
#NationalComingOutDay I hope everyone is safe, if you can't come out yet, don't. Wait until you're not in danger, safety is important.— Jikook are gay asf (@infparmy) October 11, 2017
6. Coming out can be one of the most vulnerable moments in a person’s life
hi friends: if someone comes out to you, treat them with respect & confidentiality. indifference & flippancy hurts. #NationalComingOutDay— emer-mento mori (@emeramchugh) October 11, 2017
But it was also terrifying. Even with an out cousin and an out and married aunt, coming out was utterly terrifying. Trusting people you love— Kevin Atkinson (@IKEAtkinson) October 11, 2017
7. And often one of the most challenging
Happy #nationalcomingoutday to those closeted children who are in toxic environments or don’t feel comfortable coming out. I LOVE YOU.— moom (@Lifeina_Nutshel) October 11, 2017
8. Although, sometimes, it’s less dramatic than they might’ve imagined
9. Ultimately, coming out is about allowing yourself to be exactly who you are
Life is so short. So embrace who you are and find the love you deserve. #NationalComingOutDay— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) October 11, 2017
You were NEVER created to feel ashamed, unworthy, condemned or defeated. You were created to feel victorious. #NationalComingOutDay— Daniel Brocklebank (@Dan_Brocklebank) October 11, 2017
10. And that, for most, is incredibly worth it
Coming out at 15 was incredibly difficult for me at the time but to live every day free from the lies made it worth it #NationalComingOutDay— Linda Riley (@LindaRiley8) October 11, 2017
No one gets to the end of their life and thinks, "I wish I'd stayed in the closet longer." #NationalComingOutDay— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) October 11, 2017
Telling my friends I'm gay was the most freeing experience of my life. It allowed me to finally start living it. #NationalComingOutDay— Joshadook-dook-DOOK (@JoshuaYehl) October 11, 2017
Happy #NationalComingOutDay ! I am so happy I came out, & I hope those still in the closet find the strength to live true to themselves— Anna Strusz (@AnnaStrusz) October 11, 2017
11. And, finally, your coming out can inspire others to be open about who they are, too
Kareem Yasin is a writer and editor at Healthline. Outside of health and wellness, he is active in conversations about inclusivity in mainstream media, his homeland of Cyprus, and the Spice Girls. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram.