In today’s world, full of diversity and tolerance, more and more people are bravely “coming out of the shadows” and openly sharing who they really are. But even in an age of progress and acceptance, confessing one’s sexual orientation can still be difficult and challenging. For many women, discovering that their sexual orientation makes them interested in other women can be both a challenge and a source of anxiety, especially when it comes to discussing the topic with their loved ones. How to tell your family and friends that I prefer… women?

Discovering your identity

Discovering one’s sexual orientation is often a complicated process. For some, it can be a long journey, during which they question their feelings and experiences. Others may discover their identity in a more spontaneous way. It is important to understand that there is no single way to discover one’s sexual orientation, and that each is equally valid. For some people, this journey begins with subtle signs and hunches, while for others it may be the result of a more explicit experience that forces them to reflect on their own feelings and desires.

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When discovering your sexual identity, various questions and doubts may arise. These individuals may wonder whether their feelings are “normal,” whether they are able to accept themselves and be accepted by others, and what consequences openly “coming out of the closet” may have for them. It is important to provide support and understanding during this process. Talking with friends who are open and supportive, or with a professional therapist, can be helpful in understanding and accepting one’s identity.

“The best thing about coming out of hiding is that no one can offend you by telling you what you just told them.”

Rachel Maddow
Sexual identity
Alexander Krivitskiy

Difficulties and concerns

Discovering one’s sexual orientation can be a challenging and difficult process for many people. Even if a person is sure of his or her feelings, he or she may fear the reactions of his or her relatives and community.

The most common concerns include:

  • Fear of rejection: One of the greatest fears is the fear of rejection by loved ones, such as family and friends. Some fear that confessing one’s sexual orientation could lead to a loss of support and love from loved ones.
  • Fear of intolerance: There is also a fear of intolerance and discrimination from the community or environment, especially in places where acceptance of LGBTQ+ people is lower, such as smaller towns or villages.
  • Fear of the reaction of the religious community: For some people, the reaction of their religious community to their sexual orientation is important. Fear of condemnation and rejection can be a significant factor.

“I’m not here to entertain straight people.”

Sara Schulman
  • Fear of changing relationships: Some people fear that confessing their sexual orientation may change their relationships with loved ones, even if they were previously close and based on mutual trust.
  • Fear of self: Sometimes the biggest challenge is accepting yourself and coming to terms with your sexual orientation. Some people may experience internal conflict and negative emotions related to their identity.

It is worth noting that these fears and difficulties are completely understandable and often encountered by people discovering their sexual orientation. What are the best strategies for dealing with these concerns? How do you build support that can help you overcome the difficulties of “coming out”?

“…the man of my dreams is a girl”.

Julie Anne Peters, “Keeping a Secret.”
Discovering your identity
Photo: Becca Tapert

Choosing the right moment and the right way

Once a person has figured out who they are and decided to share this information with their loved ones, it is important to choose the right time and method of communication. Many people can be helped by solid planning for this process.

  • Self-esteem and readiness: choose the moment when you feel most confident to share this important information with your loved ones. Remember, there is no pressure to do it right away – everyone has their own rhythm and pace.
  • Safe environment: Make sure that the chosen moment and place are safe and private, allowing for frank conversations and expression of feelings without fear of interference or intervention by outsiders.
  • Empathic approach: It is useful to have empathy and understanding of your loved ones’ reactions. Remember that they may need time to process the information and understand your sexual orientation.

“Sleeping with another girl doesn’t always mean you’re a lesbian, sometimes it just means the central heating needs to be fixed.”

Amy Mah, “Fangs Rule: A Girls Guide to Being a Vampire”.
  • Mode of communication: Each person may have their own preferred method of communication. Some prefer to talk face-to-face, while others may prefer a letter or text message. Choose the way that best suits your needs and comfort.
  • Providing support: Don’t forget that it can be a difficult time for you and your loved ones after “coming out of the closet.” Assure your loved ones that you are ready to answer questions and discuss, and that they will always have your support.

Choosing when and how to come out of the closet can be a personal decision, but with the right support and preparation, it can be a step toward honesty and authenticity in relationships.

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