Being Outed? How to Survive
Being outed is possibly the worst experience a person can have. Particularly, if they aren’t prepared for the possible consequences of some well-meaning or even mean-spirited person. What does being outed mean? The short version is that someone besides you tells people, groups or organizations that you belong to a certain group or lifestyle and have chosen, for whatever reason, to not tell anyone or any groups of people.
I have a friend of mine who recently got outed. I was outed during my child custody hearing. It wasn’t a tremendous amount of fun and it has caused a rift in my family that remains to this day. So what can you do?
Why Do People Get Outed Anyway?
Sometimes it’s just by accident; other times it happens because people don’t understand that not everyone thinks, lives or believes the way they do. This ignorance, bias, and prejudices cause a lot of unnecessary pain, grief, job and relationship loss, etc. I would like to think that most “outings” happen by accident, but I know better.
We live in business, cultural and social environments where if “you aren’t like me then you should be”. You can see this phenomenon on social media, in the news and it causes lots of problems that aren’t necessary.
Just so you know, I don’t care what you do or who you do it with as long as it consensual on both sides and everyone who needs to know… knows. This includes sexuality, religion, political affiliation, etc. Do whatever you wish… just cause no harm.
If you belong to or are considering joining a particular group or lifestyle, Do Your Research. The “Powers that be” have been very thorough in creating barriers and roadblocks to limiting or even preventing people’s personal freedoms of choice. There are morality clauses for teachers, parishioners and even in the corporate arena. So if you are gay, lesbian, transgender, bi, a cross-dresser, poly, a swinger, into BDSM or even in the SCA, you may want to do a little preparation lest you get surprised like my friend.
Here Are A Few Things You Can Do In Advance
Being prepared is the best advice I can give for any situation. It’s probably that “boy scout thing” in me. “Always Be Prepared” is a motto you can build your life around.
1. Think about how you WANT to feel if your “secret” comes out?
Plan exactly how you wish to feel. Happy? Relieved? Pick your feeling.
Need some help? Here’s a well-formed outcome process to help with that.
2. Do Your Homework
What are the possible legal and social consequences of your lifestyle? Have you prepared everything you need for possible legal implications; like getting censured, fired or divorced? Spend an hour on the internet, it might save you hours of tears and regret. I can say from experience that talking to your Mother after a tough day in court for custody of your child isn’t the best day to have this conversation.
3. Prepare To Tell The People You Care About
If your friends are your friends then most likely they either already know all about you or they don’t care what you do… that’s why they are your friends. Families may be a little different. Think Holidays. Those petty rivals and lifelong disagreements may rear their ugly heads in a way not imaginable. Not trying to be negative here, I just have a family too.
4. Prepare to Tell Your Kids
Be prepared to tell your adult children, if possible, about your chosen path. It may take them a little while to wrap their head around “Mommy or Daddy” has a life outside of them, but hopefully, they will come around. Prepare for lots of questions, lol.
Talking with non-adult children and (not close) family members are a different manner, entirely. Discernment is going to be your best advice here. If children are too young to understand your choices, wait until they are older, if possible. If you can’t wait you may just have to tell them before someone else does. That’s a tough choice but children always want to know the truth even if it’s hard. Better to hear hard things from your parent than a stranger.
Family members are a little tougher. They have a preconceived idea of who you are and it may take them months or even years to come to grips with your identity change(s). Stay the course.
Here Are A Few Things To Do
If You’ve Been Outed Before You are Ready
Come out or if you’ve already been outed; do it again
Take control of the situation yourself and own your sexuality, gender identity or chosen activity. This could be through making a Facebook post (“As most of you know by now, I’m bisexual.”) or another way that you feel comfortable with. Showing confidence (even if it’s not 100% real) can be a huge help in situations like this, and demonstrates to others that your identity is your own.
Talk to the people who matter
Take time to talk to the people that matter to you about your chosen life and activities. Especially the people who you have to see often. Sit them down and explain to them what it is you feel and how much you appreciate their support. You also will find out pretty quick who your friends actually are. We’ve all made the mistake of confusing friends with acquaintances.
If you can, try not to isolate yourself from the situation or from the things you enjoy. Keep involved in your usual activities and at school, university and/or work since it can be a great way to keep yourself grounded (and keep your mind off the situation if you need it).
Try making new friends/networks
Getting yourself out there and feeling connected to people who love and support you can be a hugely positive experience. You’re reading this so that’s a great start. If there aren’t any youth organizations near you, online communities can be incredible. You aren’t alone
Recognize if things get too hard
It’s not always easy and it’s OK to recognize that you need extra support. If you’re experiencing a rough time at work, or school, etc., speak to professional and have an honest conversation about how you’re feeling. There are plenty of paid and free resources available.
The cost of freedom can be everything. In order to live your life openly, you have to take some risks. But it’s always better if you are the one choosing those risks instead of some knucklehead.
If you’ve made it this far down in the article you may have noticed I have made several comments as to me being in a particular lifestyle. I have lived this lifestyle openly in my private life but have recently chosen to include it in my professional life. Many of my clients are in various lifestyles as well and I think it’s nice for them to have somewhere to go when they need help, coaching, and hypnosis. Let the chips fall where they may. I wish you the best.
If you need coaching or counseling regarding lifestyle choices
Please feel free to contact me via phone 214-702-3774 or by email anytime