Author: Prince Diana
In this day and age, there are lots of movements to take away the shame associated with many social stigmas. From sexuality, to disability, to one’s personal history, our culture is rapidly shifting to one that is accepting and encouraging for people to share their experiences and identities. Let me start off by saying that this is truly an excellent shift. No one should ever feel ashamed that something happened to them or that they identify in a specific way.
However, despite the fact that society is much more accepting now than it once was, many people still prefer to remain private about certain aspects of who they are – and that is perfectly ok!
What you share with others is your choice.
A lot of people feel that, nowadays, you should be public about these things no matter what – otherwise you’re being a bad person. Maybe you feel like you’re not supporting your community by remaining private, or that you’re only staying private out of shame.
Remember, while you certainly shouldn’t be ashamed about absolutely anything about you, you also don’t have to share it with everyone. People often get really pressured by their loved ones to come out and publicly declare themselves for everyone, but that choice should always be yours.
That leads to the second important idea.
Never pressure those around you to be public.
Perhaps you have a friend that came out to you as gay or a sibling that told you about a really traumatic experience they had. It can be tempting, again because they should never feel ashamed, to encourage them (and even pressure them) to come out – and that makes sense! You want them to be able to share their story and you want them to gain as much support as they can. However, you should always listen to them first and see what they are comfortable with.
Don’t forget that you can access support even without going public.
Many services (including ConnecTeen) promise confidentiality, so you can still certainly talk to us without letting everyone know. There are also often people in your life whom you can trust to not publicize it. Maybe a teacher, parent or friend can act as a really good support as well.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that if you want to be public then you certainly should do so, because there really is nothing to be ashamed about. However, if you prefer to keep aspects of yourself a bit more private, you should never feel bad about doing that.