Are you ready to do a Charice? A psychologist’s 10-step guide on how to declare you’re gay
By Ces Rodriguez | Yahoo! SHE – Thu, Jun 13, 2013 8:54 AM PHT
Now that Charice has come out of the closet, is it time to come out of yours?
Not so fast, says Dr. Randy Dellosa, counselor, life coach and clinical psychologist.
“In the first place, gay people are not obligated to publicly come out of the closet,” Dr. Dellosa tells Yahoo! SHE in an email interview.
Coming out is a purely personal choice
“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.”
Charice herself said as much.
“Lagi kong sinasabi na yung ginawa ko di yon something para sundan nila agad,” she told Yahoo! SHE last week during the launch of Yahoo! OMG Awards.
Charice wants to be an inspiration
“Siguro ang gusto ko lang maging inspirasyon sa kanila para magkaro’n ng courage para eventually pag na-feel na nila na right time may idea na sila,” she added.
The 21-year-old international singer has said in press interviews that she knew she was gay when she was 5 years old.
“Ang pag-come out ko na feel ko na yon na talaga, it’s not something na gusto ko lang gawin. Na feel ko na ito gagawin ko na,” Charice explained to Yahoo! SHE.
So, if you do choose to tell friends and family you’re gay, when do you know it’s time? And what’s the best way to do it?
Here is Dr. Dellosa’s advice, arranged as a step-by-step guide:
1. Love yourself.
“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.”
2. Drop hints.
“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.”
3. Seek counsel.
“An excellent way to prepare for coming out is to seek counsel and support from a wise, compassionate, and competent counselor 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 counselor or psychotherapist is gay does not necessarily make him or her a good one.”
4. Choose who to come out to first.
“The closeted gay should wisely choose the first people to come out to. The commonsensical 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.”
5. Do it yourself.
“It is best to tell friends and family members personally rather than course the news through a third party.”
6. Choose the appropriate setting.
“The gay individual must choose an appropriate situation and setting, must adjust the manner of self-disclosure to the personality of the person being told and must assume a light, positive and confident attitude while opening up about himself or herself.”
7. Don’t be dramatic.
“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.”
8. Be prepared for every reaction.
“People will naturally react to a gay person’s outing in three ways: positively, negatively or neutrally. For those who react negatively, they may experience waves of shock, denial, anger and blame. They may bargain with or even coerce the gay person to change his or her ways. Or worse, they may be physically or emotionally punitive or abusive towards the gay person.”
9. Keep calm and carry on.
“A gay person cannot expect closed-minded family members to accept his or her sexual orientation immediately. These family members need to first go through a slow process of grief before they can begin to accept their loved one's homosexual orientation. It is good for the gay person to continue being respectful and kind even to closed-minded family members in the hope of softening them up.”
10. Live responsibly.
“Coming out is not just a matter of proclaiming one’s sexual orientation to the world and then [overcompensating for the long period when one suppressed one's homosexuality by engaging in high-risk behavior]. 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 growth and maturity.”
Dr. Randy Dellosa runs the The Randy Dellosa Wellness Center. He has been a practicing counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist and psychiatrist for more than 25 years.