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Copyright: Clyde Berry

Never come out in an argument or to hurt someone.

Never come out in a moving vehicle.

A person is more intelligent than a group of people; come out to people one at a time and somewhere private.

People who are ignorant may say things initially that they don't realize are painful to hear. Remember they are simply unaware and in a state of surprise. They may already know.

Coming out in drag is a bit much [unless you really have the right shoes...]

People have to deal with: the issue of gay stuff and you as a person the combination of the two since you probably don't fit the stereotype they have about gay peeps.

Be sober.

Don't have your lover with you.

Be ready for them to need time and space to think about things before any discussion takes place.

Be ready for them to drill you with questions that may or may not offend you [see #4].

Sometimes it's easier to read about an issue than to admit you are uneducated. Have a book, pamphlet, phone number, or other resource that can be called upon when you're not around.

It is your life to live, and you only have one, and the bottom line is that you are going to continue living as a gay person no matter what their reaction is.

It may not be a bad idea to have smelling salts handy.

There are people who will never be supportive no matter what is said.

If your audience had that deer in the headlights look, don't make any quick moves.

Breathe. [Seriously.]

No two coming out experiences are ever the same.

Don't plan on doing anything else for the rest of the day/night. People will need a lot of time, for the most part, to really think about things.

Always have an escape plan. You may not need it, but if you do, you won't be surprised. Have a place to crash for the night, and money you can get to in case a worst-case scenario does occur.

Have resources for you to call -- you need support too!

Just because you come out to someone once, doesn't mean you won't have to do it again, and again, and again.

Do not try to answer questions about Richard Simmons, Rosie O'Donnell, Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise, Richard Gere [or the Gerbils], Oscar Wilde, the Spice Girls, Bert and Ernie, or anyone else.

Reprinted with permission