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What does it mean to “come out?”

“Coming out” is when lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people who have been hiding their true identity tell friends and/or family members who they really are.

The first few times a person does this are the toughest, but coming out is really a lifelong process. Each time gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans people meet someone new, they have to decide if, when and how to tell the person who they are. And that’s scary, because many people react badly to people who don’t fit their expectations.

But coming out can also be liberating and exciting because you’re finally being true to yourself. Part of what can be so empowering about coming out is that you get to decide how, when, where and to whom you come out. You are in control. Coming out can be very scary, but it can also carry with it a lot of joy. To learn more about coming out, check out the Human Rights Campaign’s coming out center.

What does LGBTQ mean?

LGBTQ stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning.” For some, the Q stands for “queer.” Heterosexual,…

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