January 19, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Q&A w/ a Therapist: “How do I Come Out?”

Tomorrow marks the 30th annual National Coming Out Day.

This is the day when folks can come out as LGBTQ+ to friends, family and coworkers. Coming out is a powerful experience that helps all people who identify as LGBTQ+. National Coming Out Day, which falls on October 11 every year, brings a face and personal stories to the experience of being LGBTQ+ and can lead to more support for equality and affirmation.


The Pride LA spoke to local therapist John Sovec, LMFT – who is a nationally recognized expert on supporting LGBTQ kids and their families during the coming out process. Check it out:

Can you introduce yourself?

I am therapist based in Pasadena who specializes in working with LGBTQ youth and their families during the coming out process, although I do work with LGBTQ people of all ages. My current youngest client is 11 and my oldest is 81. I also travel nationally training caregivers and professionals on how to create LGBTQ affirming practices.

In one sentence, what is National Coming Out Day? 

National Coming Out Day takes place on Oct 11th each year and celebrates the power of coming as both a personal and political statement. 

Can you elaborate more?

This is the day when people of all ages can come out as LGBTQ to friends, family and coworkers. Coming out is a powerful experience that helps all people who identify as LGBTQ. Coming out brings a face and personal stories to the experience of being LGBTQ and can lead to more support for equality and affirmation.

 In spirit of National Coming Out Day, can you share one instance when you came out?

How did it go? I came out during High School and had a lot of support from friends and family. I was lucky that my friends found it cool to have a gay friend and were doing their best to find me a date. Having this kind of support and love while coming out is unusual and I feel it is important to recognize the number of people who have a much more challenging coming out experience. 

Why is it an important day for the LGBTQ+ community? 

Keeping ones identify hidden takes of lot of effort and can leave a person feeling detracted, tired, depressed and anxious. Visibility is a key to action for the LGBTQ community both within our family structures and on a political action front. Being seen brings safety to a marginalized community and can bring people together as the catalyst for change.

What kind of work do you do with LGBTQ+ Youth and coming out? 

I maintain my private practice where I work with teens and their families to navigate the rough waters of coming out. I also work with many schools to create more affirming policies and campus settings.

What are some topics you help navigate? When cleints come to work with me, we explore the actual process of coming out, what are the best steps to take to achieve it safely, dating, sex, and exploring the myriad possibilities of sexual orientation and gender identity.

How can families and allies best support their child when they come out? 

I often start parents out with these five tips on how to best support their LGBTQ child

  • Stay calm. This is probably a moment of shock for all of you. Leave space for it to sink in without having to react immediately.
  • Be supportive and let them know how much you love them for exactly who they are.
  • Be patient with them as they explore what being LGBTQ means to them.
  • Let them know that you understand how hard this conversation is for them.
  • Don’t expect them to have all the answers about what it means to be LGBTQ.

Can you talk on mental health revolving around acceptance and safe home lives for LGBTQ+ youth?  

Multiple studies have shown that kids who come out in supportive environments both at home and at school have better school attendance, higher GPA’s, less depression, and better social skills. Having as little as one adult who is open and affirming can have deep and long lasting positive effects on LGBTQ kids as they are coming out.

How can a person tell if they are “ready” to come out? 

For each person it is going to be an individual choice. One of the techniques that I use to assist a person who is exploring coming out is to weigh the pressure of staying secretive against the pressure of being out. And when the pressure of being out feels less than the pressure to hide, than that is the time to begin the conversation of how to come out.

John Sovec

For more information about John and his work, visit www.JohnSovec.com and www.GayTeenTherapy.com. For more resources on coming out, visit the HRC website HERE.

Related Posts

New CA Bill to End the Epidemics of HIV, Hepatitis C and Other STDs in LGBTQ+ Community

January 18, 2020

January 18, 2020

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) recently introduced a bill that would require state agencies to create and enforce a master...

WeHo Dodgeball at the Sin City Classic LGBTQ+ Sports Festival

January 17, 2020

January 17, 2020

Hosted annually by The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association (GLASA), Sin City Classic brings together the United State’s finest athletes for a...

LONG BEACH PRIDE Unveils New Logo, Drops “Lesbian & Gay” From Name

January 16, 2020

January 16, 2020

Formerly known as  the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride, the new and improved Long Beach Pride – the organization...

VIDEO: Grand Opening of Los Angeles LGBT Center’s New Campus in South LA

January 15, 2020

January 15, 2020

‘Center South’ will provide HIV testing; access to PrEP and PEP services; housing case management; mental health services; a computer lab; and...

Sin City Classic Sports Festival has Los Angeles Roots

January 14, 2020

January 14, 2020

For those who cannot wait every two years for an iteration of the Olympics, or every four years for Gay...

LA’s Only Known Trans Nightlife Event Just Got A Little More Fierce

January 13, 2020

January 13, 2020

Heavenly Bodies is Los Angeles’ only known monthly transgender nightlife event featuring live performances hosted by trans model and activist, Sasha Colby.  Proceeds...

Craigslist Man Extorts Angelinos, Santa Monicans with Gay Sex, Pleads Guilty

January 10, 2020

January 10, 2020

Tyler Buchanan faces 10 years in federal prison By Sam Catanzaro A man has pleaded guilty to using Craigslist, among...

Honoring Timothy Dean One Year Later

January 8, 2020

January 8, 2020

An intimate gathering was held Tuesday, Jan. 7 at West Hollywood Park to honor the 1-year anniversary of 55-year-old fashion...

LGBTQ+ Ally Taylor Swift to Receive GLAAD’s Vanguard Award

January 7, 2020

January 7, 2020

GLAAD announced Tuesday, Jan. 7 that Taylor Swift with receive the Vanguard Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards. ...

Three CA Bills for the LGBTQ+ Community to Keep An Eye On

January 6, 2020

January 6, 2020

Three key pieces of California legislation that were tabled last year for various reasons will see the floor in 2020. ...

LGBT Icon, Talkshow Host Ellen DeGeneres Wins Award at 77th Annual Golden Globes

January 5, 2020

January 5, 2020

The 77th annual Golden Globes is looking a little bit more LGBTQ-inclusive, and talkshow host and LGBTQ+ icon Ellen DeGeneres’...

City of WeHo to Host Clothing Drive for LGBTQ Youth

January 4, 2020

January 4, 2020

The City of West Hollywood will host its eighth annual clothing drive for the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Youth Services...

PLAY PREVIEW: A Queer Tribute to Frida Kahlo

January 3, 2020

January 3, 2020

Frida Kahlo was born July 6, 1907 and died July 13, 1954. Her death certificate alleges cause of death as “pulmonary...

2020 Golden Globes Nominations Gayer Than Ever

January 2, 2020

January 2, 2020

Awards season is just around the corner, and the LGBTQ+ representation is bigger and better than ever before. The 77th...

New LGBT Center to Serve Community in South LA

January 1, 2020

January 1, 2020

The Los Angeles LGBT Center will be growing yet again.  On January 11, the Center will open its south campus...