One of the biggest decisions a gay or bisexual man can make is when and how to come out to people they know. It’s an important life event, representing a time when you feel confident in who you are.

For some, it’s something they look forward to embracing. For others, fear of how people may react can make them feel vulnerable. Some may decide never to open about their sexuality because it may bring about too many complications in life.

One thing is for certain - the only person that should decide when and how to come out is you.

Coming out to those closest to you can give a feeling of confidence and contentment, and a sense of being supported. This may also help you to face other challenges that gay and bisexual men face. It can be a gradual process which happens in stages. This might begin with a close friend or relative who you trust before going on to tell others. It’s something that you’ll find yourself doing over and over again, whether it’s meeting new friends, changing your job, registering with a doctor and so on.

However, you should never feel pressured to come out. You might not feel that the time’s right or you may still be trying to make sense of who you are. You might decide never to come out at all and it’s entirely up to you – just because society wants to label people doesn’t mean you have to.

It’s important to remember that if you do identify as gay or bisexual then you’re protected from discrimination. It is illegal today in Scotland to be insulted or attacked because of your sexuality. You can find out more about reporting hate crime here.

The team at SX are here if you want to speak to someone about your sexuality, and we can offer peer support if you are thinking of coming out. Just get in touch