Coming Out

Coming Out

“Coming out” is the term used when a person reveals their gender identity or sexual orientation to their family, friends, and peers. It can also be a process of acknowledging and embracing one's own sexual orientation and gender identity.

Are you thinking of “coming out,” but feeling overwhelmed? That's okay! You may have to give yourself some time to be comfortable with who you are, no matter what that might mean in the eyes of others. If you choose to disclose your gender identity or sexual orientation, be sure it is to someone you trust, who will respect your privacy, and encourage you going forward.

Unfortunately, you may not always encounter positive reactions when coming out. It is very common to be worried about rejection, judgment, and losing family support or friendships. It's important to remember that your gender identity and sexual orientation are just two parts of who you are: they DO NOT define you!

Legal Protection

Canada has made progress towards protecting the rights of all members of the LGBTQ+ community. In 1996, the Canadian Human Rights Act was amended to include sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination. In 2005, the Civil Marriage Act was enacted that allowed same-sex couples to get married anywhere in Canada.

For more information, visit:

Local Resources:

  • LGBTQ2+ Youth Services: counseling, outreach, and support for young people aged 12 - 25 and their families in Ottawa. Request counseling through Social Services Intake at 613-233-5430, and leave a phone number or email address where it is safe to contact you. Please visit the Centretown Community Health Centre website for more information.
  • Youth Services Bureau: LGBTQ2+ positive individual, family, and group counseling and crisis intervention within Ottawa, for youth 12 years and older. Counseling Intake: 613-562-3004.
  • PFLAG Ottawa: Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Ottawa, is a support group for parents, families, friends, and spouses of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. Call 613-860-7138.
  • KIND (formerly Pink Triangle Services): For youth up to age 24. Youth lead peer support and discussion group. For more information, contact PTS 613-563-4818.
  • The Youth Line: Ontario's provincial LGBT peer support and info line 1-800-268-9688.
  • KidsHelp Line: 1-800-668-6868.
  • Family Service Centre of Ottawa offers counseling and therapy for all ages on a sliding fee scale.

National Resources:

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