Being queer is not easy, so by default, telling people you're queer for the first time is also not easy. Everyone's coming out experience is different, but here's a few words of wisdom from my own journey..
You don't have to come out to everyone all at once
Coming out needn't be a grand gesture where you shout it from the rooftops to everyone nearby or script a carefully worded Facebook status. It's perfectly fine, and more common than you'd think, to come out to some people in your life before others. Start with the people you feel will take it the best or who you want to know the most urgently. Fun fact : my sister is also gay and I came out to my mum before I even came out to my sister!
Don't feel like you're 'living a lie' is you chose not to come out
Being openly queer can not only be scary, but can sometimes be dangerous too. Last year, I was not only working in a job where homophobic attitudes were commonplace, I was managing staff who I regularly overheard making offensive jokes. This massively affected not only my work performance but my mental health and my personal life. Fast forward to this year, I am in a job I love, having met some of my closest friends there, many of whom are also queer, making more money than I ever have before and being completely 100% open about my sexuality to all my colleagues and management. It's a horrible position to be in, but sometimes it's a matter of being presumed straight or cis-gender and therefore fly under the radar and be safe or be out and vulnerable, and it's perfectly okay to put off coming out to certain people or in certain areas of your life until it's safe to do so.
Not coming out face to face can be a massive help
If you are coming out to someone who's reaction you may fear or who you are most nervous to come out to, doing it via social media, Whattsapp or text message can help hugely. I came out to my sister via Facebook and to one of my best and oldest friends via Whattsapp. It not only helped me to write exactly what I was comfortable sharing, rather than risk going off on a rambling tangent and sharing more than I was happy to, but it also gave them a bit of time to process it and respond in their own time once it's sank in. If you have more to say, a letter could even be a good option, either mailed or hand delivered.
Hinting, rather than being up-front, is totally fine
Sometimes the mere thought of saying to a loved one 'I'm gay' or 'I'm trans' (or whatever your identity) is scary. For a long time, I was terrified of the words 'gay' and 'lesbian' and preferred to say 'I like women' because it sounded less regimented. I'm still not overly keen on the word 'lesbian' personally as I find it to be a very overly sexualized term but I find myself using gay, queer and lesbian, depending on the context. Putting the Pride flag emoji in your Twitter name or Instagram bio, wearing an enamel pin of your flag or sharing articles about queer issues on social media are all good ways to hint if you don't quite feel ready to say the words.
Coming out as 'not straight' or 'not cis' is just as valid as coming out as 'gay' or 'trans'
Sexual and gender identity is complicated. Like, really complicated. Many of us, myself included, spend years of our lives trying to figure out their identities, both before and after coming out. Identities mean different things to different people and often change and evolve over time. When I first came out to anyone, it was my best friend at the time when I was about 16. I came out as bisexual which, at the time, I was. Fast forward more than a decade and I now identify as gay. I might not stay with this identity forever, I really don't know, but my point is coming out as simply as part of the queer community is perfectly valid, don't feel pressured to categorize your sexual or your gender.
It's not as big a deal as you might think
I really didn't want to be cheesy in this post, but in my experience, nobody cared as much as you did. When you are in the closet, the fear of anyone finding out what you identify outwith the cis-gender heterosexual 'norm' is a terrifying thought and your brain becomes consumed with that they might think or what they might say. Like any situation in life, you can never truly know what someone thinks, only what they choose to tell you, and coming out is the ultimate in that, but it's important to remember that your friends and family don't love you because they think you are straight or because they think you are the gender you were assigned at birth. As they said, the people who matter, don't mind and the people who mind, don't matter.
Be wary of coming out for a relationship
I came out shortly after meeting my ex-girlfriend and I deeply regret coming out for that relationship because I know I wouldn't have came out at that time in my life if it wasn't for the pressure that came from that relationship. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret coming out itself, but I regret that I didn't think my sexuality was worthy, important or feasible unless I was in a relationship with a woman.
Ask for help and utilise the people round about you
If you have a friend or a family member who's also part of the LGBTQA+ community, they've been there. We all have, despite the smooth sailing and pain-free stories we hear, every single queer person has felt that worry in the pit of their stomach that comes from just thinking about revealing their identity to someone for the first time. If you can, ask them to come with you when you coming out to someone else, to hold your hand, either physically or emotionally, and to act as a buffer. Even if you've came out to a friend or a family member who isn't queer themselves but has taken your coming out well, ask for their help.
Be realistic with your expectations and prepare for the worst
I hope that if and when you chose to come out, those you chose to share your identity with are accepting and supportive and overall positive, but if you're thinking to coming out, changes are that you've read, heard and watched a ton of coming out stories and will be well aware that coming out stories vary hugely. Be realistic with that you expect to happen. For example, if the person you are coming out to is religious, you might expect them to mention your identity in relation to their relationship with God. If you know the person can be hot-headed, prepare yourself for potential anger or outrage. If you think it won't go well, have an escape plan to get out of the situation quickly and safely if it comes to it. Coming out can and does go badly for some, so I think it's important to be prepared, but ultimately, to remember that if you are met with shock, anger or upset, these feelings probably won't last forever and that ultimately your identity is valid regardless of their approval.
Your experience is YOURS and how you chose to do it is your choice
Coming out is a lot like many other big moments in life - getting married, buying a house, having kids or starting a new career - you can have an idea in your head of how you want it to play out and plan everything down to a tee, but in the end, things will probably not go exactly to envision and that's perfectly okay. If one of your friends has a huge, fairy tale wedding with 300 guests in a country mansion and another has a modest ceremony in a registry office with only their nearest and dearest, does it make one of their marriages any less significant or important than the other? Absolutely not! Coming out is the same. How you do it is your choice, don't let anyone feel bad for the way you choose to share your identity. (And yes, coming out is just as significant as all these things).
If you are reading this and thinking about coming out, I wish you all the strength in world. It'll be hard, I'm not saying it won't be, but it'll be so so worth it. Coming out is not only the hardest thing I've ever done, but the thing I am most proud of.