How to accept yourself as bisexual

Humans are social animals, and it’s much easier for us to believe in ourselves if the people around us do so as well. Of course, this may be easier in college or in a city. Many people have fears about things they are not familiar with. Sometimes they even refuse to accept new things, although it sounds backward or even ridiculous, but there are such people. The word bisexuality has been around for a long time, but there are still many people who don’t really understand its meaning, and even think that bisexuality is disgusting. Once it happens to yourself, will feel unacceptable. Here are some tips, maybe can help you understand how to accept yourself as a bisexual.
1.Understand Your Real Sexual Orientation.

To clearly evaluate a new thing, you must first understand everything clearly, and then you have the right to say your own ideas. I believe that when people first realize that they are bisexual, they are more confused and doubt whether their judgment is wrong. If you really understand bisexuality, you will not be afraid to face and will not reject it.
2. Bravely Face The Sarcasm of Others.

Many people are reluctant to accept that they are bisexual, mostly because they are afraid of other people’s cynicism, fear of other people’s language and personal attacks. And some of them are shy, they need time and space to let them slowly accept the fact that they are bisexual. Don’t shy away from challenges but wade into the struggle and get comfortable with operating and living there. Struggles are a way of life, and we have to learn to confront them. Instead of worrying about what other people think, worry about what you want.
3.Looking for Support from Like-minded Friends.

If you are thinking about it in your own way, it is better to find some friends who support you and tell them your troubles. Although sometimes they can’t help you with a good solution, but listening is already the best help for you. The support and understanding of friends will give you a relaxed environment. Join some bisexual dating sites, groups, communities. Looking for more opportunities to contact the bisexual circle of friends, often to see other people’s experience sharing, expand your circle of friends, let you know more bisexual friends, get more support. Stop spending time around people that made you feel depressed.
4.Strengthen Your Own Beliefs.

Since you have already confirmed your true sexual orientation, don’t change your own perception of your sexual orientation because of other people’s words. Or fear of losing the love of family and friends and concealing your true sexual orientation. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You will never be happy that way. Do what makes you happy and your life will just improve somehow.
5.Being More Honest With People.

Being honest will lead to stronger relationships with people who become better friends. No point spending time with people who you have to alter your ideology for, because in the end all you are left with are superficial friends, which can feel lonelier than being alone. We don’t have to live to please others. Realizing that you don’t have to be perfect to be accepted by people.

Think about who you are and then think about who you want to be. Try to do this as objectively as possible. A big part of it for me was realizing that everyone has the same fears and doubts that I have. It’s easy to see that on some people but other people are just better at hiding it or thinking through it.

How to accept yourself as bisexual

Hello, and thank you for your question. I am very sorry that this was your experience with your family. I truly wish I could give you some things to say to them that would change their reaction, but unfortunately I can’t do that. Their acceptance of you is a journey, just like coming out is a journey for you.

Sometimes families initially respond this way, but after time they become more accepting and even supportive. Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure if that will happen. So, here are a few things I would suggest:

Surround yourself with people and things that remind you that you really are okay as you are. That won’t take the place of your family’s acceptance, and I won’t even pretend that it would, but it may help during those days when it hurts the most. And that is really important.

Patience is not something that many of us are really good at, but this type of situation sometimes forces you to have some. When families first learn something like this, they may go through a period of shock. And then sometimes even grieving. They may even be worried if they are of a particular religion where being bisexual is forbidden. These things can take time for them to reconcile, so it may just take some patience. If it is safe for you, try to talk to them, but if it becomes painful or hurtful then you have the right to walk away.

I do recommend setting up some personal boundaries for yourself, and perhaps learn some assertiveness skills if you feel you struggle with them. The reason I feel that this is important is that people sometimes take a lot of abuse from family members and friends in times like you’re describing.

They may want to be accepted so much that they put themselves in hurtful positions over and over again hoping that their families will come around. They may, or they may not. And if they don’t, you deserve to live a life free of abuse and to feel confident and assured of who you are. To be surrounded by folks who remind you of that.

If you start seeing this pattern and you are struggling, chatting with counselor may be a great idea. I am bias probably, but I think chatting with a counselor is ALWAYS a good idea. 🙂

Hi, so I (28F) just kind of need to vent/ask for some advice. I’m a late bloomer, literally everything kind of hit me over the weekend and now I feel weird. The signs have always been there and I guess I feel stupid for ignoring it so long. I’ve had moments where I almost fully admitted it to myself, but then I always backed off and chalked it up as me just being crazy. As in, back in college I got drunk and started crying in the bathroom because I thought a girl was hot. I told my best friend I might be bi and she just gave me a hug and told me I was too drunk. So I felt a little silly and dismissed it as being drunk and somehow wanting attention.

Since then I’ve dated guys and even been engaged. Didn’t work out unfortunately, but that was for reasons unrelated to this. Despite dating guys and everything, the feeling of liking girls never really went away, it just kind of hibernated and popped out every so often. But recently that’s changed. It seems like I can’t get away from those thoughts. Instead of thinking ‘oh shes cute’ I find myself kind of daydreaming about a hypothetical life where I’m actually dating a girl and I don’t hate it. The thought of actually approaching a girl in a romantic situation scares the shit out of me though. I have always been so intimidated by girls, even my friends, as far back as I can remember. In school when friends would be all huggy and affectionate, I felt so awkward. I always thought I was just super insecure but after reading some stories on here I think it might just be because there was something more there that my brain just hadn’t figured out.

But, now that I’m almost 30 I just feel a bit hopeless like it’s way too late to be realizing this about yourself. How do you accept yourself? I’m not sure if that’s exactly the right way to put it, but you kinda know what I mean?

How to accept yourself as bisexual

I just assumed everyone did this. I thought all my female friends would sleep with another woman, given the chance. And if they didn’t, they were just a bit prudish. Not straight, prudish. Then the penny dropped: I was just a bit gay.

Unfortunately, that realisation didn’t come to me until I was already deep into a three-year relationship with my now fiancé.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly, madly, deeply in love with him, but it was quite inconvenient to come to terms with my sexuality without really having the opportunity to explore it. It’s also pretty difficult to identify as bisexual when you’re in a straight relationship as people either think it’s irrelevant, or they invalidate your bisexuality because you’ve ‘chosen’ to be with a man.

However, during a few therapy sessions, I explored my feelings about my bisexuality and discovered how to validate my identity regardless of my relationship status. Below, I’m sharing my advice for owning your bisexuality if you’re in a heterosexual relationship…

Talk to your partner about it

If you haven’t already and you feel safe to do so, tell your partner. Hopefully, they’ll be supportive, and I’d recommend being open and honest because your partner might be self-conscious, worrying you’ll resent them for ‘holding you back’ from something, or that they’re unable to provide something for you.

Be prepared for some potentially uncomfortable conversations.

My partner knew I’d slept with women before we started our relationship, but I didn’t ‘come out’ to him until a few years into our relationship. We didn’t have a serious, sit down chat, I just told him that I think I’m actually bisexual and he fully accepts my sexuality.

I crossed some serious boundaries with my partner by telling him that I felt like I’d missed out on a different life because I’d never had a girlfriend. I was still processing how I felt and it hurt him. Fortunately, we’ve had lots of conversations talking through what’s appropriate to say and maybe what isn’t.

However, remember that it’s not your responsibility to reassure your partner or make them trust you, you just have to be your true self. Be compassionate and kind, but don’t invalidate your experience or undermine your truth to comfort them.

Watch gay porn

I know lots of straight women watch lesbian porn, and it was my go-to genre when I was younger. In hindsight, yet another sign that I wasn’t straight. As I’ve accepted my sexuality, I find exploring via the sexy web is a great way to fulfil any fantasies I have. Initially, I almost felt like I was cheating on my fiancé because it was a desire he physically couldn’t meet, but ultimately, people watch porn far removed from reality all of the time.

Tell people you’re bisexual

I have straight-passing privilege (appearing straight to the outside world), so I didn’t think it was important to tell my friends and family that I’m bisexual because I’m planning to spend my life with a man. But this left me feeling very disconnected from my sexuality, so I told my loved ones because it’s part of my identity, regardless of my chosen partner. I also find it very powerful to mention my bisexuality in casual conversations where appropriate. This way, I challenge preconceptions about sexuality without having a serious “coming out” talk with anyone. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by kind folk, so I haven’t had any issues with their acceptance, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Go to Pride

Many bisexual people (myself included) feel like they don’t deserve a place at Pride. Bi-erasure (when the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality – either in general or regarding an individual – is questioned or denied outright) is real. And both straight and queer people often question the legitimacy of bisexuality making it harder to accept it yourself. It can be even more daunting when you’re in a straight relationship, but it’s LGBTQ+ for a reason and you have a right to be there. Also, if like me, most of your friends and family are straight, it’s even more important to go and find people like you. Pride is a wonderful, empowering place that will validate your feelings and make you feel queer AF.

Disclaimer: We live in a world filled with hateful people, so I acknowledge that coming out as bi when you’re in a heterosexual relationship is so much easier than coming out in a same-sex relationship. I’m a white woman living in Hertfordshire who’s engaged to a cis man, so I know I’ve not faced even a fraction of what too many people in the LGBTQ+ community deal with every single day. This is just my experience of how to feel part of a community that bisexual people are sometimes excluded from, especially when they ‘choose the other side’.

For most people, whether we’re talking about sexual orientation or something else, trying to live a life as anything but yourself is more painful than living a life working to come to peace with something about yourself that you or others are uncomfortable with.

Really, if you read the stories of older bisexuals and homosexuals who tried to live their whole lives in the closet, they’ll break your heart seven ways to Sunday. I’ve heard a ton of them, on the page and firsthand, and even after over two decades of being exposed to them, I still can hardly bear most of them.

Let’s assume for a moment that you ARE bisexual, even though that may or may not be the case.

You still get to choose who you partner with. You still get to opt into heteronormativity if that turns out to be what you really want. You still get to decide how little or how much your bisexuality — and your sexuality period — plays a part in your life and your identity. You still get to choose who you share information about your sexuality, your attractions and your sexual relationship with. You still get to have whatever sort of life you’ve planned (with the understanding that on so many levels, the plans we have for our lives in our youth often differ from how our lives play out realistically).

Most importantly, you still get to be exactly who you are, no matter who that is, or to whom that person is attracted.

Understand that you’re hardly alone in these feelings: there are a pretty rare few of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, etc who haven’t strongly wished we weren’t at one point or another, mostly — and often ONLY — just because the world we live in can still be so discriminatory and unfriendly towards us, and being anything but heterosexual — in a similar way to being anything but white — can sometimes be something that makes our lives more difficult than it might be otherwise. But ultimately, as most folks will tell you who felt that way and tried to be something they weren’t instead, trying to be a person you aren’t makes things far more painful and difficult.

Regardless, whether you are bisexual, lesbian or not, this isn’t something you need to get panicked about or really worried about right now. Sexual orientation — even for straight folks — is something that tends to reveal itself over time, and no one is required to be any level of out while they figure it out. There’s no reason to figure out how it fits into the plans of your life, or to put off those plans, right now: after all, the plans you make for your life should be more about you than your relationships, especially if you’re not actually in one. Relationships should fit the whole of your life, not the other way round.

Certainly, plenty of women who are and/or identify as heterosexual and who look at pornography look at a myriad of types of it: while our fantasies sometimes have something to do with our realities, they just as often do not. But to be frank, if you’ve had a few years of thinking about women both sexually and romantically, and those feelings are stronger and more persistent than they are for men, it’s not very likely that you’re solidly heterosexual. Mind, more people are bisexual — whether they choose to partner with someone of the same gender or not — than those who are heterosexual and homosexual, even though more people identify as heterosexual and choose to live their lives only dating opposite-sex. And since you’ve had those feelings for a couple of years, it seems unlikely your friend coming out somehow made you suggestible to this.

But you have plenty of time to figure all of this out: as much as you want or need. What I’d suggest is that you give yourself that time, and in the meantime, no matter WHAT you turn out to be, you perhaps spend some time looking at why you have the biases you’ve got, and who they’re really about. In other words, your family having any level of homophobia isn’t about you — save that theirs likely rubbed off on you, too — it’s about them. Any sort of avenue for your life that might only seem to have room for you as a member of a heterosexual couple is about cultural biases: not about you. Because those things are unjust and discriminatory doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with being lesbian or bisexual: rather, it means there’s something wrong with the way some aspects of culture and some people view sexuality and orientation and romance. And while things certainly still aren’t just ducky for non-heteros, even just over the last thirty years, things have improved pretty drastically. For all we know, in ten or twenty more, we may see the same velocity of improvement.

Once more with feeling: no matter what, it’s really a lot more scary and limiting to think about a life where you’d try and live in denial of an aspect of yourself on purpose, or try and be someone you’re not, especially with something you really have no control over. I mean, often I sure don’t want to be short, nor am I that thrilled to see the effects of gravity on my backside, and sure, once or twice in my life I’ve wished my sexual orientation was different than it was, but as Popeye always said, I yam what I yam, and that’s about all there is to it. It’d be a pretty big waste of my energy and time to try to pretend things about me that just are or are not, and doing that would make me a lot less happy than just accepting even the things I don’t like or wish were different.

So, for now, why not just invest your energy on getting to know who you are and accepting yourself? As you go through that process you can figure out how to manage and deal with what you discover, but there’s little sense in putting the horse before the cart or freaking out about what you could be and how people will react until you just relax and find out for yourself what you really want and who you are. 🙂

I’ve included a couple of links for you that I think may be of help, as well as a link to information on my book, which I think could be a real boon to you:

Coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual can sometimes be difficult, there’s no point pretending otherwise. However, many people have really positive experiences coming out and often regret not doing it sooner.

  • Post author

Coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual can be difficult, there’s no point pretending otherwise. However, many people have really positive experiences coming out and often regret not doing it sooner.

It’s really important, however, that you take the time to consider your own personal circumstances when making the decision to tell people close to you that you are lesbian, gay or bisexual. What may be right for one person, may not be right for you. Your safety and well-being should always come first.

Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities have many things in common and frequently align themselves with one another, the experiences of exploring your gender identity and coming out as trans can be very different to being open about your sexuality.

If you are looking for tips on coming out as trans, why not check out this guide written by Lewis Hancox?

Top 11 tips for Coming Out as lesbian, gay or bisexual:

1. Don’t feel pressured.

Everyone should come out in their own time. You may feel under pressure to tell those close to you that you are lesbian, gay or bisexual before you are ready. Don’t. Coming out is about you and no one else. If you start to think about pleasing others you will lose sight of what is really important – your happiness. Focusing on yourself and what’s important to you will ultimately make those you’re close to happier as well.

2. Don’t label yourself if you don’t want to.

Although you may feel ready to come out, you may not feel you fit any particular ‘label’. Using terms like lesbian, gay and bisexual is absolutely fine, but never feel forced to identify as anything. Listen to your feelings and go with them! If a label helps you and feels right then great. If it doesn’t then don’t worry.

3. You don’t have to choose between your faith and your sexuality.

Most religions have groups for their lesbian, gay and bisexual followers. Go online to find a group near you. Having faith and being gay are not mutually exclusive!

4. Read how other people came out.

RUComingOut has over 300 real-life coming out stories as well as interviews from celebrities. Most people who come out go through the same anxieties and they experience very similar fears. Hearing how things turned out for others who were

5. Tell one person.

When you are ready to come out (you will know when the time feels right) – don’t think you have to tell everyone straight away – it’s not a race! Choose one person who you trust more than anyone else – a friend, sibling, parent/guardian or teacher.

As soon as you’ve opened up to the first person things will seem a thousand times easier and clearer for you. It’s an age-old saying but talking really does help. You’ll also have someone you can talk to and ask advice from when coming out to others.

For some quick top tips on coming out, watch this

6. Forget the stereotypes.

When gay people first started to appear on TV and in the media, the stereotypes that were common were those of effeminate camp men and butch women. Some people still think that every gay man and woman have to fit that stereotype.

Others may feel that the stereotypes have flipped and gay men should be muscular and have beards while lesbians should have long blonde hair and wear lots of makeup!

The truth is, stereotypes suck and we all know they do. Being lesbian, gay or bi does not have to define you. If you’re camp, great. If you’re butch, fantastic. If you like going to the gym, good on you. If you prefer a good film to a good run, amazing.

Growing up (and discovering your sexuality) is all about finding out who you are, what you like and how you want to be and it’s an exciting time!

7. You’ll be protected at school, college and university.

Every school, college, uni and even workplace has a legal obligation to ensure that every one of its students or employees is treated fairly and offered the same opportunities. Many schools realise the importance of making sure their staff are trained to tackle homophobia when they see it.

Lots of schools even have their own LGBTQ student groups where students can meet and make friends. You should never feel pressured to join a group like this, but you may find that you meet loads of other people who have been, or are going through, similar experiences as you.

8. Think about the positives.

It is very easy to let the anxieties and fears around coming out completely take over the experience. But remember, coming out is one of the most amazing things you will ever do. You will finally be able to be your whole self and it WILL change your life.

Those butterflies you feel in your stomach – see them as excitement rather than nerves!

Here are some lessons you may find useful that Max Hovey learnt from coming out.

9. Some people do have negative experiences.

There’s no point denying it. That’s why it’s important that if you decide the time is right for you to come out, make sure you have a safety net if things don’t go to plan. There is support available if you find yourself feeling lost or alone.

10. Give people time.

You may have had years to get to a place where you are comfortable with being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Just think though, those people who you will be telling will have a split second to give you a reaction. Give them a chance to digest the news. It may come as a complete surprise. Surprise and shock doesn’t mean disapproval from them.

They may have questions, so pre-empt what these could be and be prepared to support them too. They may need your support as much as you need theirs!

11. Start living!

You will be amazed at how free you will feel once you have come out. Obviously, the experience is different for everyone and at times it may not go as well as you’d like.

Just remember that you are doing the right thing, you are allowing yourself to be who you were always meant to be and this means you can start living YOUR life! Remember to create that safety net around you though, just in case things don’t go exactly to plan.

Can we guess where you are on the gender scale? Take the quiz >>

Wayne Dhesi is a youth manager at UK-based LGBT charity, Stonewall. To find out more about his work follow him on Twitter.

How to accept yourself as bisexual

My best friend and I were on the bus coming home from school in the seventh grade, and we were almost at our stop. For the entire ride, she had been avoiding telling me the name of her new crush, who had been leaving her forlorn and mopey for weeks. I was getting impatient.

“I need to tell you something first,” she said, avoiding my eyes. “I’m bisexual.”

“Okay,” I said slowly, elongating the second vowel. I had never heard that word before. “What does that mean?”

With the confidence that the cooler best friend tends to exude when explaining a scandalous new topic (at least in middle school), she said, “It means that I like boys and I like girls.”

And then I shouted, “Oh, my God, I’m that too!”

Bisexuality is more complicated than that, of course. Like her sister identities, such as pansexuality and omnisexuality, bisexuality implies an attraction to multiple (or all) genders. The simplification of being attracted to men and women (especially wherein these genders are assumed to be cis) is not only incorrect but also harmful. But as a kid without a deep understanding of gender, I was nonetheless struck by my best friend’s definition.

You see, growing up, I was confused. Many queer kids have a similar experience: We’re presented with only one option of what relationships look like—cis man plus cis woman equals true love forever!—and we can sometimes sense early on that something about our internal experience feels different.

In the fifth grade, when a friend of mine sneered that I was gay as an insult, I thought maybe I had landed on a name for what I felt. But I went home and asked my dad what that meant, and it still didn’t fit. I wasn’t straight like I was supposed to be, but damn it, I wasn’t this countercultural “gay” thing either.

I felt stuck. As I saw it at the time, there were girls who were attracted to boys, and there were girls who were attracted to girls, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t simply pick one. I was both—and I thought I was the only one.

Learning the word bisexual on the bus that day a couple of years later was an unforgettably powerful moment of validation. Not only was there a name for what I felt, but I wasn’t alone after all.

Unfortunately, my road to strong, assured bisexual identity was riddled with potholes, as it is for many of us. Over the course of my life, because I internalized so much stigma around bisexuality, I’ve struggled with claiming this identity that at first felt custom-made for me.

I started dating my first love, a woman, when I was 15. It was with her that I had my first sexual experience. I was very comfortable identifying as bisexual then. I had crushes galore, and gender felt irrelevant to my attractions. I also helped start the Gay/Straight Alliance at my high school. Sure, people mistook me for a lesbian and hurled associated slurs at me, but I felt solid in my bisexuality.

When I later started dating a man, though, I felt a significant shift. Suddenly, my peers questioned my queerness. Even my boyfriend at the time told me, point-blank, “No one is bisexual forever. You eventually have to choose.” But instead of questioning our messed-up understanding of sexuality, doubt started creeping into my heart instead: Would I eventually have to choose?

For many years after that, I dated cis men almost exclusively, mostly as a result of convenience. I still identified as bisexual, because I had crushes, went on dates with, and hooked up with people of various genders. But the love interests who tended to stick, who wanted me most, were cis men. I was even engaged to one before I graduated from college! Eventually, this led me in the opposite direction of what you might assume: My sexual boredom and sometimes even disgust with the men I dated led me to believe I was, and always had been, super gay after all.

So, in my early 20s, I threw myself in a new direction and got deeply involved in my local queer community. I dated only women for a few years, identified as a lesbian, started a blog for queer femmes, and eventually got into a long-term, live-in relationship with a woman. I came out anew—only to be shocked when I later fell for a man all over again. I tried donning a “homoflexible” label for a few years, but two boyfriends later I had to sit back and take a good look at my identity and why my perception of it kept shifting seemingly so drastically.

What I didn’t understand as I tried on these different labels was that it isn’t simply our behavior that dictates who we are. It’s also our internal experience and how we choose to describe it. The normative understanding of bisexuality tends to falsely define it as a strict set of feelings and actions: We’re told that bisexuality means having equal attraction to multiple genders and engaging with them romantically and sexually in similar amounts. Not only is this an incredibly reductive way to understand sexuality, but it also leaves many people grappling with whether they’re “allowed” to identify as bisexual when their experiences don’t align with this narrow definition. That’s what happened to me before I realized I was thinking about it all wrong.

It took years for me to realize that sexual fluidity (the experience of sexual identity as flowing and fluctuating) is legitimate. Now I’m comfortable with the idea that my attractions sometimes shift, and with that sometimes comes identity changes, which are also valid.

But it’s worth questioning why bisexuality as a label kept slipping away from me, despite attraction to multiple genders always being a part of my sexual experience.

What does it actually mean to be bisexual? And who is allowed to claim it?

Over the years, I’ve created and nurtured relationships in my community with other bisexual people, and women in particular. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of this common experience, which often throws people into a spiral of invalidation: A cis woman is attracted to multiple genders, but for various reasons has only ever engaged romantically and/or sexually with cis men. Maybe she recognized her attraction to others later in life and is, at that point, in a monogamous life partnership already. Maybe she feels uncomfortable—like an imposter—in queer spaces, so she hasn’t been able to meet, let alone date, anyone except cis men. Maybe her city, family, or culture is conservative, and living her life authentically could be dangerous to her. She knows in her heart where her attractions lie, but her experience betrays that. Is she bisexual?

Coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual can sometimes be difficult, there’s no point pretending otherwise. However, many people have really positive experiences coming out and often regret not doing it sooner.

  • Post author

Coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual can be difficult, there’s no point pretending otherwise. However, many people have really positive experiences coming out and often regret not doing it sooner.

It’s really important, however, that you take the time to consider your own personal circumstances when making the decision to tell people close to you that you are lesbian, gay or bisexual. What may be right for one person, may not be right for you. Your safety and well-being should always come first.

Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities have many things in common and frequently align themselves with one another, the experiences of exploring your gender identity and coming out as trans can be very different to being open about your sexuality.

If you are looking for tips on coming out as trans, why not check out this guide written by Lewis Hancox?

Top 11 tips for Coming Out as lesbian, gay or bisexual:

1. Don’t feel pressured.

Everyone should come out in their own time. You may feel under pressure to tell those close to you that you are lesbian, gay or bisexual before you are ready. Don’t. Coming out is about you and no one else. If you start to think about pleasing others you will lose sight of what is really important – your happiness. Focusing on yourself and what’s important to you will ultimately make those you’re close to happier as well.

2. Don’t label yourself if you don’t want to.

Although you may feel ready to come out, you may not feel you fit any particular ‘label’. Using terms like lesbian, gay and bisexual is absolutely fine, but never feel forced to identify as anything. Listen to your feelings and go with them! If a label helps you and feels right then great. If it doesn’t then don’t worry.

3. You don’t have to choose between your faith and your sexuality.

Most religions have groups for their lesbian, gay and bisexual followers. Go online to find a group near you. Having faith and being gay are not mutually exclusive!

4. Read how other people came out.

RUComingOut has over 300 real-life coming out stories as well as interviews from celebrities. Most people who come out go through the same anxieties and they experience very similar fears. Hearing how things turned out for others who were

5. Tell one person.

When you are ready to come out (you will know when the time feels right) – don’t think you have to tell everyone straight away – it’s not a race! Choose one person who you trust more than anyone else – a friend, sibling, parent/guardian or teacher.

As soon as you’ve opened up to the first person things will seem a thousand times easier and clearer for you. It’s an age-old saying but talking really does help. You’ll also have someone you can talk to and ask advice from when coming out to others.

For some quick top tips on coming out, watch this

6. Forget the stereotypes.

When gay people first started to appear on TV and in the media, the stereotypes that were common were those of effeminate camp men and butch women. Some people still think that every gay man and woman have to fit that stereotype.

Others may feel that the stereotypes have flipped and gay men should be muscular and have beards while lesbians should have long blonde hair and wear lots of makeup!

The truth is, stereotypes suck and we all know they do. Being lesbian, gay or bi does not have to define you. If you’re camp, great. If you’re butch, fantastic. If you like going to the gym, good on you. If you prefer a good film to a good run, amazing.

Growing up (and discovering your sexuality) is all about finding out who you are, what you like and how you want to be and it’s an exciting time!

7. You’ll be protected at school, college and university.

Every school, college, uni and even workplace has a legal obligation to ensure that every one of its students or employees is treated fairly and offered the same opportunities. Many schools realise the importance of making sure their staff are trained to tackle homophobia when they see it.

Lots of schools even have their own LGBTQ student groups where students can meet and make friends. You should never feel pressured to join a group like this, but you may find that you meet loads of other people who have been, or are going through, similar experiences as you.

8. Think about the positives.

It is very easy to let the anxieties and fears around coming out completely take over the experience. But remember, coming out is one of the most amazing things you will ever do. You will finally be able to be your whole self and it WILL change your life.

Those butterflies you feel in your stomach – see them as excitement rather than nerves!

Here are some lessons you may find useful that Max Hovey learnt from coming out.

9. Some people do have negative experiences.

There’s no point denying it. That’s why it’s important that if you decide the time is right for you to come out, make sure you have a safety net if things don’t go to plan. There is support available if you find yourself feeling lost or alone.

10. Give people time.

You may have had years to get to a place where you are comfortable with being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Just think though, those people who you will be telling will have a split second to give you a reaction. Give them a chance to digest the news. It may come as a complete surprise. Surprise and shock doesn’t mean disapproval from them.

They may have questions, so pre-empt what these could be and be prepared to support them too. They may need your support as much as you need theirs!

11. Start living!

You will be amazed at how free you will feel once you have come out. Obviously, the experience is different for everyone and at times it may not go as well as you’d like.

Just remember that you are doing the right thing, you are allowing yourself to be who you were always meant to be and this means you can start living YOUR life! Remember to create that safety net around you though, just in case things don’t go exactly to plan.

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Wayne Dhesi is a youth manager at UK-based LGBT charity, Stonewall. To find out more about his work follow him on Twitter.