“Coming out” is when a person opens up to others about their sexuality or gender, such as telling someone about being homosexual or transgender. Homosexuality is when you are attracted to the same sex, and transgender means that you feel like a gender that is different to the sex you were born with. The above is a very simplified description of sexuality and gender – you may feel as if you don’t fit either of these descriptions, and that is ok too! People find all sorts of ways to describe their sexuality or gender, and others prefer to not label themselves at all.
Coming out can be a difficult process for some people. This can be for a variety of reasons – maybe you find it difficult to explain to other people how you feel because you don’t fully understand how you feel yet. Or maybe you know exactly how you feel, but you think that the person/people you want to come out to will respond negatively. Lots of people recognise that being gay or transgendered is totally fine and does not change who you are as a person – you should still be the same person in their eyes as you were before you came out to them.
Unfortunately, despite all the progress that has been made with same-sex marriage being legalised and certain aspects of sex-changes being available through the NHS as a recognised medical condition, there are still people who are prejudiced. Because of this, they may react in a way that you do not like, and this can be a hurtful experience, especially if it is a friend or family member. Being in a situation where you are not accepted at home can make you feel as if you don’t belong there, and could make you feel like you want to leave. There is help for people in this situation, and there may be help that could make it possible for you to stay at home and not have to run away. If you are unable to stay at home, there is help that could assist you to find a suitable living place that is safe and secure, which if you ran away without reaching out to someone you would be unlikely to find.