Student Wellbeing Champion, Tamzin, discusses National Coming Out Day and how to get involved.
October 11 is National Coming Out Day and Cardiff University is celebrating in partnership with Rainbow Bridge, the specialised LGBT+ domestic abuse support organisation.
‘Coming out’ means telling someone something about yourself that isn’t immediately obvious.
In relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, this means sharing with others that you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
National Coming Out Day is a day to celebrate all those coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT+) or as an ally.
An ally is (typically) a straight and/or cisgender person who supports members of the LGBT+ community.
Join us with Rainbow Bridge on National Coming Out Day!
On 11 October, Rainbow Bridge along with Cardiff University’s Counselling, Health and Wellbeing service will be celebrating National Coming Out Day by holding a stand in the Students’ Union.
The stand will have inspirational personal stories about coming out, along with information on how to access support through Rainbow Bridge and the University and Students’ Union Support Services, so please pop over to the stand to support National Coming Out Day and chat with the teams!
- Ground floor SU in The Square
- Thursday 11 October.
Everyone’s coming out journey is different
The process of coming out can be very different for everyone and it can take some time to get to a point where you feel comfortable and confident enough to have those conversations with people.
Why people come out
Usually people just want to feel able to be honest and open about who they are, especially with the people they love.
Hiding who you are can be a big struggle. It can take your focus and energy away from other important things in your life such as your job, studying, friendships or exams.
Just because someone may decide to come out to family or friends, doesn’t mean they have to come out to everyone. It’s quite common for people to be out in certain areas of their lives but not in others.
It may take you a while to get to a point where you feel ready to come out which is absolutely fine. The main thing to remember is to not put pressure on yourself and to only come out when you feel ready.
Coming out takes bravery, and we commend you.
You may find some of the following support useful.
Support with coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual
Coming Out! is Stonewall’s guide for young people. It provides answers to some of the most common questions young people might have if they are thinking about coming out, or think they might be lesbian, gay or bi. Written and designed in conjunction with young people themselves, the guide offers advice, guidance and suggestions for further support.
Support with coming out as trans
A Guide for Young Trans People in the UK was produced by young trans people, and gathers stories, sources, facts and tips that might be useful to anyone questioning their gender.
How to support a friend who comes out to you
Thank them for opening up to you
It might have been very difficult and scary for your friend to decide to come out. But they did decide to come out, and they came out to you, which shows that you are important to them and that they trust you. Give them a hug, thank them for their trust and reassure them of your continued friendship and support. This is important as they may have been afraid that you might have rejected them or that they would lose you as a friend.
Have an open dialogue
You might have lots of questions for your friend, and they might have some questions for you, too! Talk it out and be real with each other. You may be curious, but remember to be sensitive when asking questions and avoid questions that would have been considered rude or inappropriate within the friendship before your friend came out. Your friend may really need someone to listen to their thoughts or any fears they might have. Just let them know that if they ever need someone to talk to, you’re there for them.
If a friend comes out to you, remember that the person has not changed. They are still the same person you knew before; you just have more information about them than you did before. They are still the same friend they have always been. Remain the friend you have always been.
Offer to support your friend, for example support them in coming out to other friends or to their families. Alternatively, your friend my not want you to do anything; they may just need someone to listen and be supportive.
Never share this information without permission
Coming out is a process and should be driven out of a personal decision by the person to reveal more about themselves, and should never be forced (sometimes called ‘outing’). This is highly personal information and it is up to your friend and nobody else to share it. Respect your friend’s privacy – it is up to them to decide if, when and how they tell other people. Ask if they would like this to remain between the two of you. However, if they give you permission to help by telling other friends, go ahead!
Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service
The university’s Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service is available to provide support for anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty, including if you are struggling with any issue relating to coming out, your sexual orientation or your gender identity.
The team offers bookable appointments via an online self-referral form, as well as a daily Drop-In Service called ‘Wellbeing Drop-In’, between 15:00-15:45, Monday–Friday and on Wednesday mornings between 09:30-10:15 at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place.
All of the staff will listen, without judgement, and offer support in a safe, confidential space.
Chat to your LGBT+ Officers by attending a drop-in, connecting with them on social media (details of social media accounts can be found on the Campaign Officer web pages here), or contacting the officers at:
Representing LGBT+ issues as well as campaigning for change on campus and running various events, the LGBT+ Association is available for whatever you might need them for. Find them on Facebook, Twitter or email them at: LGBTAssociation@cardiff.ac.uk
CU Pride Society
Rainbow Bridge is a Victim Support run service that specifically supports victims of domestic abuse who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. The team provides emotional support, practical advice and advocacy tailored to each individual accessing their service. Their goal is to support and empower victims of domestic abuse within the LGBT+ community.
Appointments from the Rainbow Bridge Team are available monthly, at the Student Support Centre, on the last Tuesday evening of every month. Their appointments can be accessed either face-to-face or via telephone.
Search ‘Rainbow Bridge’ on the student intranet.
You can also contact the team directly for support:
- Tel: 0300 3031 982
- Email: RainbowBridge@victimsupport.org.uk
If talking to a member of staff is something you are not sure about, why not chat to one of our Student Wellbeing Champions. They are trained student volunteers who can signpost you to support, offer you a ‘Peer Ear’ and give you basic health and wellbeing advice.
Offering a confidential listening ear from 20:00-08:00 (term-time only).
Call them on 02920 870 555 or click here to chat on their instant messaging service.
Umbrella provide support for anyone who identifies as LGBT+ or is questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity. Find them online here or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Out and Proud
Out and Proud is a chance to meet other young LGBT+ people aged 13-21. It offers peer support for anyone who is LGBT+. Find more information here.
The LGBT Foundation
The LGBT Foundation work to support LGBT+ people including help with healthcare. Find more information here or call them on 03453303030.
National Hate Crime Support
Victim Support run the National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre which provides free and confidential emotional and practical support to victims of Hate Crime. This covers anyone who feels like they have been targeted because of their race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Additionally, they are a third party reporting centre, meaning you can report hate crimes to them and have the right to remain anonymous. You do not have to report the incident to the police to receive support from the team and the team can report these incidents to the police on your behalf if needed.
Appointments from the National Hate Crime Support Team are available monthly, at the Student Support Centre, on the last Tuesday evening of every month.
Search ‘Hate Crime’ on the Student intranet.
You can also contact the team directly for support:
- Tel: 0300 3031 982
- Email: CrimeWales@victimsupport.org.uk
Disclosure Response Team
You can access a range of support options from the university’s Disclosure Response Team if you are affected by any form of violence and abuse, including sexual assault, rape, harassment, hate crime, relationship abuse, stalking and any other form of unacceptable behaviour.
Tamzin, Student Wellbeing Champion.
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.