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Coming Out

COPP's Commitment

The Coming Out Proud Program is committed to helping GLBTI people to "come out with pride" and live in their community with dignity, as fully respected and participating members. We acknowledge, of course, that coming-out to family, friends and work colleagues is difficult for most GLBTI people, as many of us live and work in environments that are hostile to sexually- and gender-diverse people. Furthermore, because each of us is a unique individual, each of us must navigate his or her own course through these typically troubled waters. The good news is that help is available in many forms, including:

  • print material on sexuality, coming-out and how to deal with by-products of the process, such as anxiety and depression;
  • trained volunteer and professional counsellors that you can talk to about whatever may be worrying you; and
  • the support of other GLBTI people.

We recognise that, in order to create communities in which GLBTI people can "come out with pride", we need to pursue two parallel strategies, namely:

  • to help individual GLBTI people to navigate the process of coming-out and to deal with any negative feelings about their sexual or gender identity in order to live full and meaningful lives; and at the same time
  • to attempt to effect changes in how all GLBTI people are perceived by the heterosexual majority. For information about our efforts to effect cultural change, please refer to the Cultural Change page on this site by clicking that button at the left of the screen.

Helpful resources

Reading material

The best source of information of which we're aware on issues of sexuality and coming out is the Reach Out site. While it is primarily a site for young people, the information available on sexuality and coming out is clear and comprehensive, and relevant to people of all ages. The site has easy-to-read articles on Sexuality and Gender and other topics that may be of interest to you.

Rainbow Network Victoria and Not So Straight also have some great resources. POSH (Peers Out-Smarting Homophobia) is a useful booklet for young GLBTI people.

For those people who have experienced a conflict between their Christian faith and sexuality, a useful starting point is the freedom2b site. Whether you have left the church or are still there, freedom2b is a place to connect, gain information, find support and dialogue with people who understand your journey.

Counselling

If you are having thoughts about self-harm or suicide, please go to the Need Help Now! page. Lifeline and Kids Helpline both offer a free 24-hour counselling service staffed by trained volunteers. Beyond Blue also operates a Suicide Call Back Service staffed by professional Counsellors who can provide crisis counselling to people at risk of suicide, carers for someone who is suicidal, and those bereaved by suicide. This service also operates 24 hours per day, 7 days a week across Australia.

Otherwise we recommend that you contact the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, with whom we are strategic partners. This service is staffed by trained volunteer counsellors from the GLBTI community. The service is free, anonymous and confidential. Their counsellors will listen to you, discuss your issues and concerns and possibly recommend additional resources that you can access. It is important to understand that this is not a 24-hour service.

You might also like to consider other, more specialised services listed on the Need Help Now! page.

Support from other GLBTI people

Everyone who has come out remembers that their first encounter with other GLBTI people in a social setting seemed at the time like a huge step - perhaps akin to appearing alone on stage in front of a large audience - but which, afterwards, felt completely right. In Tasmania there are relatively few social outlets for GLBTI people, and this was the impetus for creating the social group now known as SPECTRUM, which in turn established the Coming Out Proud Program.

Outright Youth, which is run for youth by youth, is a key component of the Coming Out Proud Program and provides mentors to educational institutions. You may like to refer to a set of notes on the operation of Outright Youth.

Refer to the SPECTRUM and COPP pages on this site for contact details, the Events page to see a current list of social events, or Links page to access the websites of other social organisations.

You might also like to check the listings on the Tasmanian Database of the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard.