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5 Ways To Support Your Closeted Girlfriend On And After National Coming Out Day

5 Ways To Support Your Closeted Girlfriend On And After National Coming Out Day

5 Ways To Support Your Closeted Girlfriend On And After National Coming Out Day

Sometimes coming out isn't an option, but you can still support the woman you love on and after National Coming Out Day.

National Coming Out Day can be liberating for many in the LGBTQ community, but for those who stand to lose family, friends, jobs, or housing, coming out isn’t always an option. When you’re dating someone in the closet, there are plenty of ways to help her stay safe and protect her right to come out at the right time for her. 

 

1) Acknowledge that National Coming Out Day isn’t a magical day that makes coming out okay for everyone.

Your girlfriend is well aware of what day it is, and if she isn’t, the 10,000 posts on her Facebook wall will remind her. If she’s still in the closet, all the warm fuzzy stories about coming out with happy endings may make her feel more blue than joyful. She’s out and safe with you, so remind her of that by spending the day together doing something you love.

 

 

2) Learn where she’s out and where she’s not.

For some, coming out takes a whole lot of baby steps. If she’s transgender and not out to her parents, get creative about avoiding pronouns at family gatherings. If she’s out with your friends, but not at work, suck it up and be the best “roommate” ever at office parties. 

3) If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution.

Don’t assume she’s out to one co-worker just because that co-worker is out. Don’t mention anything on Facebook unless you’re 100 percent sure she doesn’t have a weird bigoted aunt hiding in her friend’s list. She should always be able to come out in her own time on her own terms.

 

 

4) Don’t shove her out of the closet.

As much as you may want to profess your love to the world, be patient. Trying to convince her that everything will be okay will not change the way hostile people in her life react. She knows what the consequences will be better than anyone else.

 

 

5) Ask how you can help when she’s ready to take that step.

If your girlfriend knows she’ll need a shoulder to cry on after coming out to her mom, be that shoulder. If she knows she’ll need to find a new job because her boss has made ten transphobic jokes in the past month, dip into your network and help her edit her cover letters. If she needs you to be there when she tells her sister, hold her hand as tight as you can through that very awkward brunch. Be aware that she may lose many of the resources (like a steady income, or help from her parents) that made your life as partners easier, and that you’ll need to step up and be that extra support. You can’t make everything okay, but you can be the one thing in her life that will be okay no matter what. 

 

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Cassie Sheets