Navigating Life OUT

After graduation, we head into the unknown — new schools, new workplaces, maybe new cities. It’s exciting! But it can also be scary, especially for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. How do you know right away how much support, awareness, and affirmation are waiting for you?

For help navigating your next steps, we turned to Florida-based LGBTQIA+ therapist Christina Rogers, LMHC, LPC, NCC. Rogers says, “Figuring out how to express your sexuality and/or gender identity in new situations can feel like coming out all over again!”

To make sure you can take your next steps without stepping back into the closet, Rogers says to keep these five factors in mind:

SUPPORT
Who in your life understands you and knows you best? Having someone to contact can make all the difference when you are feeling isolated or need perspective. 

PREPARATION
Preparing ahead of time for how you will respond to people who challenge your identity may help you feel a little less out of control. But remember, it is not your responsibility to educate people about your sexuality or gender identity! Create boundaries around this topic so you don’t exhaust yourself.

IDENTIFICATION
Your sexual identity and gender identity are a very important part of who you are. What else makes you, you? Knowing yourself and having clarity on your values is essential in remaining authentic.

RESOURCES
Ask about LGBTQIA+ policies put in place by the company or school you are interested in joining. Knowing what resources are available might allow you to feel more validated, supported, and safe.

LIMITS
You are allowed to decide what works for you — this is how we learn to trust ourselves. If something doesn’t feel right, or you have a gut feeling that this place is not affirming, you do not have to stay.

LGBTQ Resource Hub

FSCA LGBTQ-IA Resource Page

Central Florida Gay and Lesbian Law Association

Alliance for GLBTQ & Youth

Human Rights Campaign

Watch & Learn