India has come a long way in breaking stigmas and stereotypes. It is (almost) no longer a taboo to talk about sexual freedom or health, despite sex education still not being in our school curriculum. Advertisements and movies these days talk about social barriers and break stereotypes, for instance take the recently released Pink. And yet despite Fastrack’s ‘Come out of the Closet’ campaign and 101 India’s video of a bisexual woman explaining how she came out to her mother and her mom eventually coming to accept the fact that she should love her daughter for who she is, we still have a long way to go. Most of us simply don’t know how to deal with it when a close friend of family is coming out to you. And TBH there’s nothing much you can do but be supportive. But we sure can do some things to make them feel better when they’re going through their hard phase. So how exactly are we supposed to cope up with the confusion within ourselves when someone comes out to us?
Acknowledge that person’s plight and respect them for what they are.
They chose to come out to you out of all other people they know. This means they trust you and want you to understand or maybe even help them through it. Even though it might be hard for you, an attempt to understand is a must.
Have you tried the other way?
Before we ask them any such thing, we should just ask ourselves one tiny question. Why would someone choose to be LGBTQ and suffer the society’s wrath if he/she could just be straight and happy? Then again there are instances they could be faking it to gain attention, but unless they explicitly state so, there’s no point harassing them about it.
Be truthful to them.
Some people pretend to be okay and not care in front of a LGBTQ person but make fun of them behind their back. There are better ways to deal with what you perceive as an issue in a harmless and polite manner.
Can I share it with anyone?
No, even if you want to tell someone really close and trustworthy and even if it’s for how you have to cope up with it, you shouldn’t. That would count as outing them and they’re the only ones who have a right to tell others. If you really need help you can use anonymity.
All a person needs when he/she comes out is support from you. If they came out to you, it’s because they had a feeling you would support them. Even if it might be hard for you to accept, you should always support them and try to understand what they go through.
Being in the closet is one of the most frustrating things. So being there for them as much as they want is all one could do, and your support will mean the world for them.