The term coming out is used to describe the process of understanding, accepting, and disclosing one's sexual or gender identity. The process is very personal and can happen in different ways for each person. Some people acknowledge their identity during their teenage years, while others come to understand their identity much later in life. For those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, coming out is an ongoing process that may involve confusion, self-doubt, and stress. Even people who simply wonder about their sexuality or identity are often afraid to share their questions with others. One of the first steps in the process of coming out is acknowledging one's own identity. Regardless of the circumstances, the choices surrounding coming out to others require courage and deserve respect.
If you are in the coming out process, or if you are struggling with others' reactions to you, there are resources on and off campus to help. The Counseling Center offers free, confidential counseling for all students. For more information, call (410-617-CARE (2273)) or stop by the Counseling Center in Humanities 150. Campus Ministry is also available to discuss your pastoral concerns. To contact Campus Ministry, call 410-617-2222.
How to Be an Advocate
Remember how much courage is involved in coming out. If someone you care about is struggling, help them find support. In addition to being a caring friend you can also be supportive in challenging any forms of discrimination or bias that are disrespectful and harmful to persons who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. When you adopt the attitude that any form of bias is unacceptable and are vocal about this attitude, even by objecting to degrading jokes or statements made by others, your advocacy will help to create a respectful and inviting campus climate for everyone.