'Coming out' - a.k.a. publicly revealing your sexual orientation and/or gender identity as a lesbian, gay, bi or trans individual - can be an extremely daunting prospect.
For some, there's a fear of how people - especially friends and family - will respond; 'Will they support me? Will they be disappointed?'
It's super scary, because the world is still sadly, but decidedly, a heteronormative place. Bathroom genders are still binary, gay marriage is still up for debate (ahem, we're looking at you Australia) and Trump's trying to get transgender soldiers banned from the military in the USA.
The Office for National Statistics in 2013 found that 93.5 per cent of people identify as 'heterosexual' or 'straight,' meaning that a mere few years ago, 'coming out' was still extremely rare and extremely brave.
To make matters worse, Stonewall has recently found that abuse against LGBT people has risen by 78 per cent in just four years in the UK.
Clearly, we still have a long way to go in building a society with respect, tolerance and love at its core.
The 'coming out' experience is unique to everyone and it can happen several times throughout an LGBTQ person's life, whether it be at school, university, at work, or even in a bar.
And it's not entirely uncommon for people to be 'out' in certain areas of their lives, but not in others. After all, sexuality is an incredibly private aspect of life.
We spoke to several women in their twenties to find out what it's like to 'come out' to the most important people in your life.
Jasmine Andersson, 25, LGBTQ journalist and activist, London, UK
When one of my friends recently described me as 'the proudest bisexual she knew', I was a little taken aback. It's only in the last year that I've been 'out and proud' and it 's taken a long time for me to become comfortable with who I am.
Growing up in a Catholic school, living in the small city of Hull where very few people in my social circle were 'out' as gay, nevermind bisexual, it took me a while to realise it was okay to simply be attracted to both men and women. Although I am very proud of my working-class roots, any sort of deviance away from what could be considered 'normal' felt like a threat to my social standing. So first I had to 'come out' to myself.
When I told my friends I was bisexual, I remember pressing a tissue into the palm of my hand and by the time I'd rattled the words out, it was in shreds. I didn't want to draw attention to who I liked, but I wanted the chance to be myself in a public space, without any more questions.
It was only in my final year of university that I plucked up the courage to date women. Before that it had been a dull awareness, but a lack of exposure to the queer community meant it was pressed to the back of my mind. I was in a long-term relationship with a guy at the time, but it's hard to explain to someone that being gay is bigger than them, and bigger than you. It just is.
'Coming out' to my parents, however, didn't go as well as planned. I blurted it out drunkenly on Christmas Day and was met with stony silence. I love my parents - they are wonderful - but I soon learned that 'coming out' is something for you, and regardless of the response, there is nothing to be ashamed of or hide.
The word 'sexuality' is a misnomer. Being bisexual has always meant more to me than who I have sex with — it's intrinsic to my identity. Even though I was worried about how other people could take it, it was as natural as my eye colour, or my shoe size. It was something that I shouldn't have to excuse in order to make other people happy.
This year, my parents suggested we go to Hull's first ever national Pride. As I applauded and cheered the marchers, I was glad I could live out the convergence of my two worlds knowing the people who love me know I can love more than one gender.
Kitty Calderbank, 24, artist, Leeds, UK
Growing up, I sensed I might not be heterosexual, with crushes on both androgynous and 'hetero' celebrities. I remember learning about bisexuality around the age of 12 and had a sudden feeling of happiness – I finally felt I had a word I could identify myself with.
At my all-girls secondary school, I was always worried that if my classmates knew the truth they'd think I'd be staring at them while changing for P.E.. A cliché, I know. So, instead of blurting out my sexuality to friends, I approached them with hinting questions such as 'could you see me in a relationship with another girl?'
When their response was a unanimously unfazed 'yes', I immediately felt comfortable enough to 'come out'. My friends reacted like I'd just given them a weather update – it was normal, which is exactly how it should be.
My positive coming out experience with my family is thanks, in part, to my older, gay step-brother. He had a tough time telling his dad who had somewhat homophobic views at the time. When it came to my own 'coming out' I decided to tackle the largest hurdle and tell my step-dad first.
My friends' reaction was as if they'd just been told about the weather
He seemed shocked at first, but said both he and my mum love me and that all they want is for me to be happy, regardless of who it's with. His reaction made me feel both relieved and guilty. I'd built him up to be this huge, negative obstacle in my sexuality and it wasn't the case. I felt proud he'd managed to put his previous prejudices aside, but my pride was conflicted, with sadness that he hadn't reacted the same way for my brother. It felt unfair, but I also felt another step closer to owning my identity as a queer woman.
'Coming out' can be a terrifying experience which can be made worse by over-thinking or pre-emptively expecting the worst. All you can do is be brave, own who you are and hope for the best.
Sophia Clarke, 28, technology entrepreneur, London, UK
I was 14-years-old when I first realised I wasn't straight. I remember the night I told my mother and feeling nervous, partly because it's an awkward conversation, but also I wasn't sure how she'd react . When you're 'hetero', you don't have to announce that you're a sexual being, and it's an uncomfortable topic to discuss with your parents, regardless of sexuality.
Her response was very calm. I recall her saying 'whoever you love, I'm sure we'll love too'. I felt relief but almost disappointment because it wasn't the dramatic 'coming out' scenario I'd built up in my head.
I was six-weeks old when my parents adopted me from Chile - a predominantly Catholic and fairly socially-conservative country which only legalised divorce in 2004. I was fortunate to visit Chile several times during my childhood, but it wasn't until last year that the topic of my sexuality came up in conversation with friends over there.
I realised I'd been holding onto preconceptions about Chile's view of the LGBTQ community. And while substantial social inequalities remain in terms of race and the economy, there have been incredible steps towards the legalisation of equal marriage in recent years which make me feel proud of its progress.
When you're 'hetero', you don't have to say you're a sexual being, so it's an uncomfortable topic to discuss with your parents
When you 'come out', it's important to trust your instincts and consider how people have previously spoken about politics and relationships. For some, you need to approach the subject carefully, for others it's simply a case of dropping feminine pronouns into conversation.
Paradoxically, as fundamental and private as it is, 'coming out' mostly isn't about you, but the person you're talking to. It might sound contradictory because this 'thing' is yours, but you don't own it - the person listening to you has the power to react how they want. But what they don't take away is your self-knowledge and identity, and ultimately that is what strengthens and empowers you.
Tori Green, 27, graduate student, Massachusetts, US
I'd been kissing girls 'for fun' since the age of 12, but didn't really realise I was bisexual until my freshman year of college. One night, I was talking to a friend and admitted that I could see myself marrying a woman. I suddenly paused and burst out laughing; I instantly felt free.
I'd been dating a guy for eight years at this point and didn't want to go through the stress of 'coming out' as I couldn't see how my sexuality would change anything. Over time, however, I could feel my identity increasingly becoming erased.
In 2012, after college, I accidentally came out to my parents via a blog post. I was studying abroad in Toulouse, France, and wrote a blog to document my experience and vent my frustrations about the election between President Obama and Mitt Romney - an openly anti-gay marriage politician.
In one post, I wrote: 'As a bisexual woman, I'm happy that four more states voted to end marriage discrimination.
'With these changes, we're moving in the right direction. If I fall in love with a woman, I want to be able to have the same exact rights as any other citizen. Not a civil partnership - a marriage, including the right to raise children without being discriminated against.'
A few months later, I met my parents in Barcelona and my mum told me she thought my sense of humour came out in my writing. My dad interjected: 'Yeah, a lot of things 'came out' on that blog.' I turned bright red and rambled some kind of explanation, but they both started laughing. There I was, out to my parents and everything was fine.
I didn't realise the weight of hiding such a big part of myself from my family until it was released - my body instantly felt lighter. By 'coming out' to them, self-love became attainable, when before it felt impossible.
Now, for the first time ever, I am simultaneously single and happy with who I am. I'm grateful to be blessed with friends and family whose love has no limit or exceptions. And now, neither does my own.
Gina Santangeli, 24, correctional officer, Gold Coast, Australia
I was 19-years-old when I had my first relationship with a woman, but it would be another two years before I 'came out'. Until then, I'd enjoyed two long-term heterosexual relationships but, in hindsight, I now realise I wasn't as emotionally invested in them as I have been in my relationships with women.
I first realised I was gay following a pretty tough break-up with a boyfriend and found comfort in a colleague who was going through a similar situation with her girlfriend. We spent a lot of time together and I found myself becoming increasingly interested in her relationship and sexuality.
She was 13 years older than me which made the whole process that much harder as I wasn't only coming to terms with liking a woman for the first time, but also our age gap. We ended up dating for two years during which I lived two lives - one with her, and one with my friends and family who had no idea I was going out with a woman.
I didn't make the decision to 'come out' to my parents, they did. My family is incredibly close and I found myself becoming distanced from them the further my relationship intensified. One day, my Mum phoned me and said I needed to come home and have a talk with her and my dad - I instantly knew.
I admitted to my parents I liked both girls and boys and they couldn't have reacted better.
My mum told me: 'If you're gay, you need to own it. Admit it and love who you are because if you don't how can you expect anyone else too.'
Admitting I was gay was one of the best feelings I've experienced. As a result, my relationship with my family and my friends became stronger and I finally felt more like myself. I've been incredibly fortunate with my 'coming out experience' - not one person I've told has reacted negatively. Some were shocked, others suspected I might be gay, but everyone has been supportive.
Hopefully, 'coming out' won't be a thing one day and the LGBTQ community will be accepted for who they are, regardless of their sexuality. First, though, before we expect others to accept us, we need to start accepting ourselves.