If you're going to drop the big news ... you might as well be clever about it!
There is no right, wrong, good, bad, or perfect way to come out ... only YOUR way.
I belong to a speaker's bureau for PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). We go to universities, colleges, high schools, the occasional church, and even to Police and Sheriff Academies to share our coming out stories.
We share what our life is like as members of the LGBT community. I personally enjoy the trips to the Police and Sheriff's Academies (woof, woof ... lock me up, officer).
What I love most about these experiences is the audience interaction, especially when someone comes up and shares their desire to come out but they aren't sure how. They're often looking for advice and support.
I always suggest they attend a PFLAG support meeting as a start, but then I lighten things up by suggesting they come out in one of the following ways:
- Channel your inner Madonna and sing at the top of your lungs, "Like a virgin ... COMING OUT for the very first time!"
- Follow United States Air Force serviceman Randy Phillips' lead and DO tell (even if not asked) that you're gay by making a YouTube video for your dad. You, too, could become a YouTube sensation.
- Land a hit national TV sitcom and make the big reveal part of the script like Ellen DeGeneres.
- If you play football, leave a trail of Post-It notes throughout the house with the number 52 written on them. Have the trail lead to a poster of Michael Sam, with a picture of yourself wearing a #52 football jersey. Then write a nice, loving note, that says, "I'm just like him—gay ... and I still love to play football."
- Shock your parents with a simple, "Wish me luck. I'm coming out to my friends today," as you bolt out the door for school. This is a true story from one of my fellow PFLAG parent speakers. They sure wish they'd known he was gay before he decided to tell his friends.
- Blindside Hollywood and the rest of the world by coming out during a speech for the Human Rights Campaign. (ps. Go Ellen Page! We love you. It was truly your time to thrive!)
- Use food. Food comforts, takes the edge off, and gets your message across. Like a cake—decorated, frosted, and with big letters that says "Surprise. I'm Gay!"
- Hire a video company to create a video montage of the greatest gay moments in movies. Burn it to CD, and then slip it into the Red Box jacket cover you just picked up at the kiosk. Sit down with the family to watch what they think is this week's new release, then let your Oscar Winning Performance take place as you utter the words, "Frankly My Dear, I'm Gay!" (The title of my soon-to-be released self-help book.)
- Stake your claim, honor your hometown, and tell your story with my friends over at I'm From Driftwood. You never know whom else from back home you might find on the site telling their story too. Then you can tell your family, "See, I'm not the only one that's gay in our town." While you're over there, check out my story.
- If you're twins, do a double-trouble whammy on your unsuspecting Dad, on YouTube. Yes, I'm referring to the Rhodes brothers, whom, as I write this article, have over 10 million views of their video, in which they came out to their dad ... tears and all.
- Send your parents an unused container of birth control pills with a note attached saying, "Thanks for being concerned about sexcapades, Mom and Dad. Just wanted you to know I won't be needing these because I'm gay."
- Have your photo taken with Pope Francis with you holding a sign that reads, "We talked about me being gay. He's cool with it. How about you?"
Honestly, it really doesn't matter how you come out or when. What matters most is that you do it the way you want to do it; the way that makes you feel most "you;" the way that brings you peace, harmony, and happiness.
And if all else fails, order up a box, or two, or three, of, "So, you're gay. That's all" cards from That's All Greetings. Cross through the "You're," replace it with "I'm," and mail them to everyone you want to come out to. Go to the Post Office, purchase the gayest stamps you can find, and mail them.
Or, immediately board a flight to a foreign country, take up residence for a year or two, and maintain contact with no one. Then return home after a time, unless you really like living in the new country. Upon returning, if someone says, "Last time I heard from you, I received a card that said, 'So, I'm gay. That's all.' Is that still the case?"
Look them in the eyes and say, "Are you still straight?"
Are you ready to craft your coming out story your way, but you just don't know where to start? Or maybe you want to blow those you tell away in the right way, without blowing them to smithereens? Set up a coming out consultation and let's start crafting your story the way it's meant to be ... your way!