Navigating the coming-out journey can be one of the most challenging parts of an LGBTQQ2S+ person’s life. Coming-out can support one’s authenticity and well-being concurrently to posing real risks to safety—especially in less accepting environments. However, LGBTQQ2S+ folx need not feel alone in their coming-out journey—we have been doing so forever! Below, is a compiled list of valuable resources that may support the coming-out journey of you and / or your friends and family.
Paris is Burning
How can Queer and trans folx connect with their hidden yet lengthy history, especially as so much was lost from the HIV epidemic? Paris Is Burning touches upon some of that history at the peak of Ball Culture (including the modern origins of drag and vogueing). This documentary film explores the Queering of the family (i.e., chosen families and “houses”) and the ways in which Queers (especially racialized Queers) challenged “normal.” The film and subversive culture it documents were an exploration of gender performativity and is a foundational Queer source. This film will prove life-affirming for Queers seeking [‘alternative’] family for their safety and those seeking connection with Queer history (especially that of Black and Latinx trans and Queer folks). It concludes with a positive way of viewing the world in the midst of a pandemic and systemic violence. The source will prove useful for supporting isolated Queer and trans folx in situating themselves within a broader Queer community and history—especially those interested in drag scenes.
Content note: This film documents difficult subject matter in the midst of unprecedentedly difficult times—consequently, it includes language and references events which may be difficult to hear. It does not hide sexuality and is best reserved for those who are comfortable with that.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Booklet from the Government of Canada
The booklet Sexually Transmitted Infections is one of the standard resources on STBBIs (sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections) provided by Canadian sexual health educators and is freely available from the Government of Canada. It offers an accessible explanation of STIs, STI prevention, STI testing, and outlines nearly a dozen different common STIs in Canada. While taking caution so as to remain within the confines of one’s scope of practice, this booklet might be a useful resource for community members as they navigate informed consent and health. It will prove valuable for those seeking to safely experiment with their sexuality while remaining informed on the risks associated with sex.
Content note: Those with sexual trauma might not want this booklet and it could be activating and / or harmful. Those who are both uncomfortable with sex and are not sexually active may not want this booklet. Those who believe they might have an infection ought to see a qualified medical professional (family doctor, public health agency, school clinic, or walk-in clinic).
2SLGBTQQ+ Terminology Guide and Media Reference Tool
This invaluable and accessible resource from SPECTRUM offers a basic understanding of key aspects of gender and sexual diversity. It provides clarity around appropriate terminology and wordings while noting which inappropriate terms are to be avoided. It also includes recent statistics on Queer and trans safety in Canada and situates 2SLGBTQQ+ rights within the Canadian and Ontario Human Rights legal context. Therefore, this resource will prove worthwhile for both Queer and trans community members in addition to those who might be totally unfamiliar with the community. It is an excellent resource for Queer and trans folks in the midst of their coming-out / self-acceptance journey as it will allow those navigating this difficult and sometimes isolating journey to feel understood and supported.
Available on Instagram
The Instagram account @Queersextherapy has become a popular resource to support Queer and trans folx in “develop[ing] Secure Sexuality” with over 240,000 followers. With over 1,000 posts, Tanner’s account includes resources on a variety of topics, such as coming-out, diverse sexual practices, ethical porn consumption, health issues, healthy relationships, information on different sexual and gender identities, neurodiversity, pride, trauma, self-acceptance, and sexuality. This will be a helpful resource for those seeking a healthy community to discuss, learn, and seek community with other sexual minorities. It is unique in offering evidence-backed, psychological approaches to sex education on Instagram in a Queer-focused cyberspace. It may be a useful resource for those seeking to further explore their identity, sexuality, and to see the diversity of minority sexualities.
Content note: Those with sexual trauma may be activated by the subject matter. Those who are not out and whose internet activity and / or social media accounts are monitored could be put in danger by being referred to this resource.
Ask Kai: Quick Tips for the Apocalypse
How can Queers obtain adequate sex education when they are so often excluded from heteronormative sex and relationship education (if they are even provided that)? This video series from Canadian sex educator, social worker, and trans activist Kai Cheng Thom contains fifty short videos offering fun, relatable, and quick answers to difficult questions ranging from communicating boundaries and desires, confronting our friends’ racism, flirting, hookups and breakups, identity struggles, pronouns, and sexual practices / education. Thom’s video series is a resource for curious folx to review at their leisure to become more comfortable and informed with regard to important issues they may be dealing with in their lives—especially if they are sexually active and / or in communities of sexually active LGBTQQ2S+ folks. The resource offers diverse perspectives across the spectrum of the 2SLGBTQQ+ community and different intersections of identity alongside Queerness. This sex education resource will be useful for Queers who have not received adequate sex and / or relationship education and seek to ameliorate their knowledge. Likewise, it will aid helpers in supporting and understanding this community—in addition to improving their own sex education.
Content note: Those who are uncomfortable with sex are reminded they can simply watch the videos they are interested in—this series also deals with other issues such as coming-out, flirtation, and racism. Queer youth whose internet use is being monitored and who have not come out to their parents should not be directed to internet resources which may out-them. Folx with sexual trauma may be dismayed by the content.
Coming Out: A Handbook for LGBTQ Young People
How can LGBTQQ2S+ people safely navigate the coming-out process in an increasingly dangerous environment for Queer and trans existence? This handbook offers guidance for young LGBTQQ2S+ people navigating the coming-out process. It introduces readers to gender and sexuality concepts while cementing practical guidance for coming-out safely. The handbook also offers some quotes and advice from those who are in the same process, allowing the reader to see the value in solidarity with other community members, and encourage them to reach out for support. This will prove to be an invaluable resource for youth in the midst of this coming-out process.
Note: It is not the place of others to decide if and how someone ought to come-out, and it can be dangerous for certain folks to come-out. The resources in this handbook are tailored for Americans.
Although coming-out is a psychologically healthy and beneficial process for the LGBTQQ2S+ person to engage in to promote self-acceptance, there are heated debates surrounding the centrality of coming-out in Queer organizing and community and the [usually implicit] shaming of those who are disinterested, unable, or unwilling in coming-out. The preeminent Queer theorist Judith Butler asks her reader, “so we are out of the closet but into what?”—it is an important question for allies and Queer and trans folx to contemplate, as the answer might surprise some, especially when they are uninformed as to the particular cultural context they inhabit. If you feel you need more guidance with your coming out process, it is important to consult with a therapist who can provide direction and support.