Coming Out

There is a cadet on my squadron who came up to me asking for advice about weather they should come out as Bisexual or not. And as this is a sensitive subject I am seeking advise. My thoughts are that ignorance is a bliss but does anyone have any differing opinions?

It’s entirely up to them and what they feel comfortable doing. Let them know the policy on equality and diversity, talk about the support network available through Aspire, the Wing LGBT Rep, and other external signposting.

There’s no pressure or need for them to take any particular course of action, but…

I’ve known some cadets be incredibly open, honest, and embracing of sexuality and/or gender, others where something was known about but not discussed, and although a lot rarer these days those who choose not to disclose except maybe to a select few closest friends.

Personally, my thoughts are that avoiding disclosure to anyone at all ever can become increasingly stressful and they might wish to think about who they are closest to and trust the most, start small and gain confidence in the support and understanding of others.

One cadet upon their return to F2F announced to the entire Squadron what they discovered about themselves during lockdown and the response was overwhelmingly supportive - curious, but totally positive.

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We’ve had a similar incident before.

As long as they feel happy, safe and comfortable within their home life to share such important news encourage them, however if this is not the case get a staff member involved.

Let them know that the RAFAC support bisexual and LGBTQ+ people within the organisation and that if they do feel unsafe at any time within their journey to reach out to NCO’s and staff, however them expressing their sexuality is who they are as a person. They shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or uneasy at any moment in time.

My best advice is to be there for them whatever they decide to do and bare in mind that they will be nervous, so was I at first, and nobody from the corps or any family members at home should be making them feel nervous or scared. It’s a process.

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@Mystic123 did you mean to close the thread to new responses when you clicked “solution”?

I agree with most of what has already been said, but would just like to add a couple of brief comments (from the perspective of an openly bisexual member of the organisation, but who only came out at the age of 30).

I used to think this, until not living my true self began to tear me up inside. It’s not the same for everyone, but I have been so much happier since I came out and have seen first-hand just how supportive people in RAFAC are. So, while they don’t necessarily need to come out to the whole squadron and they should only come out when they feel they are ready to, I also wouldn’t encourage them to keep it bottled up, either.

Welcome to the forum @CplRichards!

I very much agree with this in principle. If there is a safeguarding or welfare issue then it should be referred on to a member of staff. But, it is not for anyone else to “out” someone, even to a member of staff. Encourage them to speak to a trusted member of staff, yes, or if you are concerned for their welfare, ask a member of staff to get involved. But coming out is their story to tell.

Absolutely let them know that RAFAC is a diverse and welcoming organisation - and if they ever find someone behaving otherwise, whether that be a member of staff or a cadet, there are mechanisms in place to deal with that.

And above all else, this:

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Really good advice there

No, I was just pointing out your advice as it seemed to answer my question. But any new advice is welcome.

The way the forum works is that once a comment has been marked as a “solution” the topic is automatically locked an hour after the last reply and then no more replies are possible until an admin unlocks it.

I think that’s what Giminion was getting at.

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I get it now. I’ll just uncheck the solution box just in case anyone else has more thoughts on this topic.

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Just a thought - do you know if your cadet has spoken to their parents about this? It might prove awkward at best if they haven’t and you are labelled as the one that’s encouraged (be that rightly or wrongly) to Come out in the parents eyes.

Having supportive parents who are open and accepting of this is the key. Otherwise you could come out of this badly and get grief.

To be fair I don’t know, but I’ll mention this to him anyway.

may also be worth finding out who else knows e.g. sibs? kids often realise before adults!
100% support and encouragement, incl. any of us who’ve found that journey hard.

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My brother was disappointed that my reaction to him coming out at 16 was “I’ve known for years”. Our dad though was completely oblivious, although supportive.

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Much the same here - my senior cadet came out a couple of years back and the reaction was almost universally ‘great! but obviously…’

For the most part the cadet generation (for the want of a better term) are more accepting of this than the old fart generation.

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Has he told mum and dad or the school? If not it seems bizarre to “come out” in a hobby as a first port of call.

Quite the opposite, come out in your happy/safe space first

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Not really. It may be that cadets is the safe place where they feel comfortable testing the waters. Not all parents are accepting and schools can be vicious places for kids who are perceived to be"different"

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The world is a vicious place, you can’t bubble wrap people.

I asked one of the pastoral staff about kids coming out and the response from the other kids. They said by and large the other kids aren’t bothered a few make silly comments, which is dealt with and after a couple of weeks life moves on and the rest of the staff are too busy to worry about it. The biggest problem is kids and staff becoming non-binary and others ‘slipping up’ when they refer to them.

So how does coming out at the sqn, stop their parents or people from their school finding out?

The son of one of mum and dad’s neighbour’s came out, by telling one his cousins, their cousin mentioned it to her mum and she told her brother … the dad. He went ballistic because their son didn’t feel he couldn’t speak to them first. His dad didn’t care about him being gay, as he and his wife had , had an inkling for a few years. He didn’t speak to his son for several years over the lack of trust and respect he showed in his parents.

Dad of the year right there.

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That reaction is probably exactly why his son didn’t want to tell him first.

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