A handout (and handy activity) for demystifying coming out as well as some easy do and don'ts when it comes to supporting someone's coming out process.

Necessary supplies

Goals & objectives

  • To help participants gain a more nuanced understanding of the coming out process
  • To provide some best practices (do’s and don’ts) when supporting someone’s coming out process

Step-by-step walk through

  1. Pass out the coming out handout to participants.
  2. Frame the activity/handout by sharing why it is important to talk about coming out. Example:

“We are going to spend a few minutes talking about coming out. Coming out is likely something many of us have heard about, but may not have spent much time thinking about. Often times we don’t think about the coming out process until we are going through our own coming out process or supporting someone in theirs. This handout is going to help us get a more nuanced understanding of what coming out means and ways to support someone in their coming out process.”

  1. Read the coming out handout. An easy way to do this (and to invite more folks to participate) is to ask participants to read a section of the handout which are clearly designated by change in color.
  2. Once you’ve completed reading the handout, lead a short debrief on the handout (if you’ve allotted time to do so).
  3. After the short discussion move into wrap up.

Debrief Question

What are some initial thoughts/reactions to what we just read in the handout.? Anything stand out to you?

Was there any information on the handout that was new to you?

Has anyone supported someone during the beginning of that person’s coming out process? What did you learn from that experience?

How might this information be relevant to you in your role as a _(insert professional/personal role here)_?

Wrap Up

Summarize the major points of the discussion and/or highlight major outcomes you want to mention that have not been hit. May include:

  • It is never okay to out someone (to reveal that they are LGBTQ without their permission)
  • If you are supporting someone in their coming out process it is important for you to find out what they want you to do with the information they’ve shared—do they want you to share with others, keep it to yourself, check in with them regularly about it, etc.
  • Everyone is going to want/need different things during their coming out process. Asking explicitly, “Hey, I’m so glad you shared this with me, how can I best support you in this process?” is a great question to ask.

Notes

The coming out handout can also be provided as a stand-alone resource and not explicitly built into the curriculum as an activity. While a helpful, quick, and easy activity, a lot of the information is communicated on the handout itself and can be read by participants at a later time.

The handout also works well as a transition/close to Privilege For Sale which opens up a discussion about the privileges that are at risk with being out or not out, the ways in which LGBTQ individuals choose to negotiate being out, and other fruitful discussions.


Read more about this handout and coming out here! ItsPronouncedMetrosexual’s Article – When Someone Comes Out to You: Do and Don’t