Coming Out

Williams College has a non-discrimination policy that protects students from discrimination due to their gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Many students feel comfortable being “out” as LGBTorQ on campus. It is your decision whether or not to share your sexual orientation and/or gender identity while at Williams.

College is an experience that allows many students to experiment, get to know new people and truly come to terms with who they really are inside. It is this, along with a chance to finally be independent that makes college such a common time for students to be more open about their sexual preferences and to come out to parents and friends. If you’re struggling with the decision to come out, it may not be an easy road, but college can be one of the best places to finally accept yourself for who you are and let the world know about it. Coming out should happen on your schedule.

“Come Out” to Yourself:

The coming out process is different for every person. Some experience anxiety, pain and anguish while others find acceptance easier. You may also experience fear, doubt, loneliness, anger and even depression. That’s why it is good to surround yourself with others that may be going through the same transition or who have already come out. They can be a great support system.

“Coming out” is about personal expression, not what others’ may feel or think about you. Take each time you come out as an opportunity to increase your level of self-awareness.

“Come Out” to Family and Friends:

Disclosing your sexual identity to those close (or not so close) to you is rarely a one time event. It’s a process that continues throughout your life. You’ll find yourself “coming out” to many people over time. Some of those individuals you will confide in and others will find out by circumstance.

“Coming out” should happen at a pace that makes you the most comfortable and you should always consider your safety and the stability of your environment before “coming out”.

You don’t have to accept the labels.
Ramon Johnson put it like this, “Top, bottom, femme queen, bear, trade, twink… I find labels to be quite restricting. They leave no room for growth, flexibility or undiscovered fun. Look, you are who you are and you like what you like. Those “likes” can change over time, as you continue to grow. People are most comfortable when they can categorize others. As queer people how can we expect others to keep an open mind about us while we in turn close our minds about ourselves? Keep it open. Keep it happy. Now that you have taken this step, there is so much to look forward to.”

Counseling: Even if your friends and family are totally accepting of you, coming out can be emotionally taxing for some students. Luckily, college campuses are home to loads of free counseling and support, get in touch with Psych Services for help in going through this potentially life-changing experience.

Information on this page comes from a variety of resources including:


Coming Out  Asian Pacific Islander Site

  • Q&A Space