What are the pros and cons of coming out later in life?

This article will show you what are the pros and cons of coming out later in life. It will also discuss what it means to come out, in what age people usually do it, and what you should do if you are going to come out later in life.

What are the pros and cons of coming out later in life? 

There are some pros, and cons to coming later in life. Here they are.

Pros of coming out later in life 

  • You are financially independent
  • You probably love alone and don’t need to take what your family is saying into consideration
  • You can choose who you want to be close to you, be it family, friends, or partners
  • You can always look for support online if it is necessary
  • If you want to change your legal documents, you can do that
  • You will see that you don’t need to hide yourself anymore

Cons of coming out later in life

  • You will have to deal with the years of repression of your feelings, and sexual identity
  • Having to deal with the reprimand that can come from coming out, be it from your religious circle, or even family that don’t accept you
  • Worrying about how to deal with the relationship you are in when you come out
  • Being afraid of telling your children about it
  • Being afraid of how you will be perceived in your job
  • Being afraid of how it would be to get into the dating world now
  • Feeling regret for the time you feel you have lost
  • Putting your sexual identity into question because it took you a while to come out

What does coming out mean? 

Coming out is usually the name given to the act that people have of coming forward and declaring they are not heterosexual. It can be that the person is gay, bisexual, or transgender, and in all cases, when they make a point of telling the people in their life about their sexual identity, and their sexual orientation, it is called coming out. 

That is because before people that wouldn’t affirm their sexual orientation were called people that were in the closet, meaning that they were keeping that part of their life hidden from others. But this term has also been seen lately as a form of burden to the people in the LGBTQIA+. 

Instead of giving them the strength to see themselves for who they are, stand tall, and make a point of showing their true colors, it created the idea that being in the closet is always negative, dismissing the time it takes for people to be able to come forward.

It also created a line of thought that there are right and wrong ways of coming out, which can be overwhelming. When in reality each person will deal with their sexual identity and orientation as they see fit, taking the time to act in a way that they feel is not harmful to them.

At what age do people usually come out? 

There has been a lot of research concerning when people usually come out. In the United States people have been coming out a lot younger than before. That is partly motivated by the better acceptance they have when compared to years ago. 

It is also known that nowadays more people identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community than before. Research has shown that in 1965 only 2% of the American population said they were part of the LGBTQIA+ community, in 1997 it was almost 16%.

As for which is the most common age for coming out, most people say they realized they were gay, or bisexual around the age of 12. And it was in their 20s that they felt they were ready to share this with their family and friends.

As for transsexuals, research has shown that 73% of them begin to think they were trans between 6 and 20 years old. Being that it happens mostly between the ages of 13 and 17.

What should I do if I am coming out later in life? 

If you are coming out later in life, you should make sure to care for yourself since it may be one of the most stressful moments in your life. It can be helpful to create a plan and think of how you can work towards reaching it, without putting you through any physical or emotional harm.

It may be preferable to come out to people face to face, in a well-planned conversation. But that is not always possible. But have in mind what you want to say to people, and how you will start this conversation.

At this moment it may be important to have the support of someone that has been through this before already. It can be just someone that you can talk to, or you can even invite them to be a part of the conversation if you feel that it will bring you some sense of safety.

It is also important that you reflect on what are the possible outcomes for coming out. We all hope for a supportive conversation, but how would it feel if it is not like that? Try to name a place of support you can run to if things turn bad.

Make sure that the day you bring this conversation up is one that you feel that you are rested, and you can take on all the questions that will be made. 

You should also make sure that you have the support of a professional, or of a support group of people that have gone through similar things so you can share your experience and help you cope with whatever reaction comes from coming out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are the pros and cons of coming out later in life? 

What are the stages of coming out?

Although there is no set pattern for coming out, there seem to be some stages in which people that come out will go through. They are six, and the first one is called identity confusion. 

That is because the person may have named themselves as heterosexual through a large period of their lives, and now they are coming to terms with the notion that what they have thought of up until this point, is not the reality of how they feel.

After that, comes the stage of social comparison. In this one, the person may start to compare themselves with the people around them and can feel like they don’t belong in the place they are in.

 At this moment, they can look for places to affirm their gender, but even that can make them feel isolated. But with time is the support of people that have been through similar things that will help them.

The first stage towards seeing yourself out of the heterosexual relationships is the one of identity tolerance, in which you begin to get some sense of commitment from the LGBTQIA+ community, and you feel like this is a space you could fit in. After that comes the identity acceptance which leads you to a deeper connection with the community.

When a person begins to identify themselves as part of the LGBTQIA+, it is understood that they are in the stage of identity pride. And when the person is in the stage of identity synthesis it means they will be able to see themselves fully not only as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, but the whole community around them.

How to know when it is the time to come out?

Deciding when to come out is something personal, but to do so you should consider your privacy, and if you decide to share it only with a limited number of people, do so to the ones that won’t go passing this information forward.

You should also make sure that you have people close to you that will support you. It can be friends, family members, people from the LGBTQIA+ community with whom you have been in touch with, or even a therapist, but make sure you are not facing this alone.

Before you decide to come out, consider all the possible outcomes that can come from it. Having them in mind will make it easier for you to find a way out of whatever bad situation that can happen. And finally, before you decide to come out, have in mind that you should do it only if it feels like the right moment to you, and don’t feel pressured by other people, or their rules.

Why is it a good idea to come out?

Although you should only come out as you feel ready for it, it may be helpful to know that there are some benefits to doing it. First of all, coming out will give you the possibility of living a more honest life, and being honest with yourself can be great to build your self-esteem.

Being open about who you are will allow you to let your friends and family members get closer, and not having to live a life full of secrets can help you feel less stressed. Being open about who you are will also make it easier for you to connect with people from the LGBTQIA+ community.

Finally, it may be a chance to break the stigma people around you have on them, and this can even make you a role model for people in the same situation.

Will coming out make me feel better?

Yes, it is possible that coming out will make you feel better for various reasons. It will give you the chance to look at yourself for who you truly are, and in that, accept yourself better, and have a better idea of your identity.

It can also give you a great sense of relief since you won’t be living in that intense amount of stress you may be living with now, as you imagine everyone will begin to discover your sexual orientation even though you are trying to hide it. 

This can also impact how anxious you feel, and as you begin to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community you may also get a great sense of satisfaction and belonging, as you will begin to be a part of a community that is similar to you, and with whom you identify with.

Conclusion 

This article discussed the pros and cons of coming out later in life. It also explained what does it mean to come out, and at what age do people usually come out. Aside from that, the article gave you tips for you to come out later in life.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to write it in the section below.

References

https://psychcentral.com/health/coming-out-later-in-life#personal-stories