Should I come out?

Many people keep their trans identity and expression private all or part of the time. Some people refer to this as “going stealth.” This decision may be based on concerns about the responses of others. Coming out may involve an increased risk of being exposed to harassment, discrimination or violence; losing relationships; or losing housing. The decision not to disclose may also be a reflection of the feeling that this part of your identity is private. All of these reasons are legitimate. You have the right to choose whether or not to disclose this part of yourself.

For many people, the benefits of coming out outweigh the risks. Some of the personal benefits of coming out include:

  • Developing closer, more open relationships

  • Building self-esteem from being known and loved for who you really are

  • Reducing the stress of hiding your identity

  • Connecting with other trans people

You may also help others, by:

  • Dispelling myths and stereotypes about trans people

  • Making it easier for future generations of trans people to come out

  • Becoming a role model for others

Of course, you can choose to come out to some people and not others. It may be helpful to weigh the pros and cons of coming out in each aspect of your life (family, friends, work, school) or to particular people in your life, and then to decide how much risk you are willing to take in each case.