Arkivi i Lëvizjes LGBTI+ në Kosovë

Coming Out

April 4, 2024

October 12, 2021


What does coming out mean?

Coming out, also known as “Coming Out,” is the process of disclosing one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity to one or a group of individuals such as family, society, coworkers, etc. Coming out is a phenomenon that has become common among LGBTIQ+ individuals as a result of a heteronormative society and the assumption by the majority that everyone lives a heterosexual life within binary frameworks. Such societal approach has long been detrimental to LGBTIQ+ individuals, making their lives difficult in both public and personal spaces. This inequality and denial of authentic life has created a new wave among LGBTIQ+ individuals, encouraging activists to come out, both within their families and communities, as well as publicly through the media.

Coming out is recognized as a courageous and encouraging step considering the current circumstances worldwide, especially in a society like Kosovo where in an interview conducted a few years ago, over 80% of the interviewed individuals expressed opposition to having a child who might belong to LGBTIQ+ communities.

This process can often be emotionally difficult and sometimes even risky. Therefore, coming out is a process that should be done gradually, step by step, testing the situation and preparing oneself to face reactions from various, unfortunately including negative or unsupportive ones.

How to come out?

How to come out – one of the most frequently asked questions by LGBTIQ+ individuals worldwide, and most often by children and teenagers, with numerous and varied answers.

The truth is that there is no specific way to come out, and the reactions of others are also unpredictable. However, there are some circumstances that can be analyzed for a safer journey when coming out to a family member, friend, or someone else.

One step you can take during this process is not to react impulsively. It is understandable that hiding one’s sexuality and/or identity and leading a double life can accumulate many emotions inside that need to be released. Although it’s difficult to contain sometimes, such explosive reactions can lead us to unbearable situations and worsen our process of development and self-acceptance. Emotional outbursts can sometimes result in trauma.

Test the situation. Before talking to someone about yourself, try to discuss LGBTIQ+ community topics and see what opinions they have on these issues. Although this helps in how to approach the other person, it does not always guarantee predicting their reactions. The person in question may support you because of closeness, but have a different opinion on this phenomenon in general. Also, it may be the opposite – to be neutral towards LGBTIQ+ individuals but have difficulty accepting a close one. However it is, continue to focus on yourself.

Find the moment when you feel ready and don’t let external factors influence you. You are not obliged to tell anyone about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity. You are in control of this process! Take care of yourself and practice self-love to empower yourself and fight for yourself.

How should family members act?

When someone close to you addresses you with the intention of disclosing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, one of the best reactions is to refrain from an exaggerated reaction.

According to the opinion of a considerable number of LGBTIQ+ individuals, the greatest fear during the coming out process is how the other person will react. Therefore, before reacting, make sure you are listening to what the person has to say, and always remember that they are sharing very personal information that has remained hidden for years.

Offer a sense of trust and ensure that everything will remain confidential. Since such information is very personal, do not abuse the trust of a close person.

Revealing such a secret to someone else is one of the worst actions, regardless of whether it’s intentional disclosure or negligence. Revealing the secret harms the well-being of the person, putting them in other troubles that the person initially did not think could happen, which affect emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes even physically, as well as result in loss of trust in others in the future. Coming out is a personal decision that belongs only to the person who wants to come out, at the moment they decide.

Where else can you find support if you are LGBTIQ+?

If you do not have anyone in your family or society with whom you can talk about these issues, contact other LGBTIQ+ individuals you know or visit places frequented by LGBTIQ+ people.

Finally, remember that even if you don’t come out, you are part of the LGBTIQ+ communities and you will always be accepted, as a second family. In fact, without your knowledge, you are encouraging and setting an example of resilience for younger LGBTIQ+ individuals.

Also, to benefit from services for your well-being, you can always seek psychological sessions and legal services from organizations working for the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in Kosovo. These services will ensure that you take care of yourself and seek your rights in a safer way and be accompanied along these journeys by informed individuals who make you feel comfortable.

You are valuable and you belong in this society!