Sunday, June 16, 2013

... YAHOO interview on how to come out of the closet / Counseling for gay teenagers ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

An interview by YAHOO commisioning editor Ces Rodriguez occasioned by Charice's recent confession that she's gay:

·         When is the right time to come out of the closet?  Does age and circumstance have anything to do with it?

In the first place, gay people are not obligated to publicly come out of the closet.  A gay individual has as much right to stay in the closet as well as to come out of it.  Coming out in public is a purely personal choice.  If there is only one person the gay individual is obligated to come out to, it is himself or herself.  This means that he or she has to accept and love oneself as being gay, rather than sulk in self-denial or self-loathing.   

If however the gay person does decide to come out in public, the ideal time to do so is when he or she has fully, positively, and confidently come to terms with his or her sexuality.   By feeling good and self-assured about oneself, the gay person has little or no need to be defensive, rebellious, spiteful, or arrogant towards narrow-minded and homophobic people. 

·         What considerations should someone take when outing him or herself to friends and especially family?

The closeted gay should wisely choose the first people to come out to.  The common-sensical choice is friends and family members who they know to be understanding, trustworthy, and supportive.  Opening up to homophobic friends and family members can obviously wait.  Also, it is best to tell friends and family members personally rather than course the news through a third party. 

The gay individual (1) must choose an appropriate situation and setting, (2) must adjust the manner of self-disclosure to the personality of the person being told, and (3) must assume a light, positive and confident attitude while opening up about oneself.  Coming out does not need to be a heavily dramatic event.  A light, simple, and clear statement about one’s sexual orientation will usually suffice. 

After coming out in public, some gay people over-compensate for the long period that they suppressed their homosexuality.  They sometimes do this by arrogantly flaunting their homosexuality for all to see, by impulsively jumping into relationships, or by engaging in high-risk and promiscuous homosexual behaviors. 

Coming out is not just a matter of proclaiming one’s sexual orientation to the world and then indiscriminately acting out one’s homosexual impulses.  Coming out carries with it the task of living responsibly for oneself and for others.  Coming out is simply a first step in accepting and loving oneself so that one can then proceed in his or her journey towards personal growth and maturity.     

Once a person has identified and accepted oneself as being homosexual, he or she has to move on.  A homosexual  is considered neurotic when his or her life and self-identity revolve around and is narrowed down to his or her homosexuality.  On the other hand, the psychologically healthy homosexual considers sexuality as an important aspect of life, but recognizes that it is just one of the many other essential aspects of life.  

·         What should the person expect to happen when he or she decides to come out?  And how should he or she handle the possible rejection of peers and parents?

People will naturally react to gay person’s outing in three ways:  positively, negatively, or neutrally.  For friends and family members who react negatively, they may experience waves of shock, denial, anger, and blame.  They may bargain with or even coerce the gay person to stop being homosexual.  Or worse, they may be physically or emotionally punitive or abusive towards the gay person.    

A gay person cannot expect closed-minded friends and family members to accept his or her sexual orientation immediately.   These family members need to first go through a slow process of overcoming their denial, shock, and grief before they can finally accept that their loved one is a homosexual.  It is good for the gay person to continue being respectful and kind even to closed-minded family members in the hope of softening up their homophobic attitudes.   

·         How should a person prepare for his or her coming out?

The closeted gay can begin the process of coming out by dropping subtle hints about his or her sexual orientation.  During light conversations with friends and family members, he or she can ask about their opinions on homosexuality-related issues.  By doing so, the gay person gets an idea about his or her friends’ or family members’ stance on homosexuality.

An excellent way to prepare for coming out is to seek counsel and support from a wise, compassionate, and competent counsellor or psychotherapist.  Avoid approaching “militant” homosexuals who might simply coerce the gay person to prematurely come out of the closet.  Remember that just because a counsellor or psychotherapist is gay does not necessarily make him or her a good one. 

·         A lot of people feel pressured to come out.  What if they choose not to?  What is the effect?

The closeted gay person must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of coming out.  If the negative consequences outweigh the positive, then it is best not to.  

The quick and common advise given to closeted gay people is “Magpakatotoo ka! (Be real to yourself and others!)," but this cliché is simplistic and does not consider the over-all situation of the gay person and the negative consequences that might ensue.   Many family ties, marriages, and friendships have been irreparably broken by well-meaning people who give bad advise.

Some gay people have a stronger need to come out more than others.  When homosexual impulses are suppressed, it can result in major depression, anxiety attacks, or psychosomatic illnesses for which a psychiatrist is needed. 

·         What if a person is not ready to come out but he or she is being teased or bullied about their sexual preference?  How should this situation be handled?

One has to differentiate between being teased and being bullied about sexual orientation.  Light-hearted teasing and bantering among friends and family members is socially acceptable while bullying certainly is not.  Bullying is an offensive act and leaves the homosexual person harassed, belittled, and humiliated. 

Victims of bullying must not suffer in silence.  It is important that the victims actively seek the protection and support of friends, family members, and authority figures.  On the other hand, the bully must be sanctioned and even psychologically rehabilitated if necessary.  

·         Where should a conflicted gay person turn to for help?  Are there hotlines or resources they can turn to?

Contact The Randy Dellosa Wellness Center at 415-6529; 415-7964.

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