It's very easy for LGBT+ people to feel pressured into coming out, whether it be by society or by themselves. I know that I have tried to force myself to come out when I wasn't ready because I felt as if staying in the closet meant that I was not proud, or that I was a bad lesbian.

Neither of those things is true. It's perfectly okay to remain in the closet, especially if your safety would be compromised for coming out. Even if you just don't want to or you're not ready, that's okay, too!

Still, if you choose not to come out, that can make life difficult for you, and you may be wondering how to cope. You may want to date someone of your same gender, but you're still living life as a heterosexual person. You may have to pretend to be a gender that you're not. It hurts, but there are ways to make it easier.

Perhaps you can find one or two safe spaces where you CAN be yourself. Maybe there's an LGBT+ group at your school or in your community. You might be the type to find comfort in fiction; if that is the case, then you can consume media that has LGBT+ characters in it. Even something as simple as running a Pride account on Instagram can help you to feel more at peace.

There may even be a way for you to go to Pride if you're closeted! You could pretend to be going as an ally, or pretend to go to something else entirely if someone asks.

Maybe you can even try to present yourself in the way that you desire if you're transgender and/or gender non-conforming! For example, if you're a closeted trans guy, you could pretend that you'd like a shorter haircut and masculine clothes in order to look like a masculine actress or fictional character. Similarly, you can try wearing subtle rainbow color schemes, or other colors that may match your pride flag.

Most straight people would think nothing of a person who wears pink, purple, and blue; whereas someone who is bi would know the real meaning behind those colors. There are other ways to take care of yourself as well, ones that aren't even related to your identity. Try to find a hobby or interest that could serve as a distraction.

If you do decide to come out, whether it be this week or any other point in time, that is amazing. If you're already out, that is also amazing. But it's equally okay to not be out for any reason. You're still a treasured part of the LGBT+ community, and you will be able to be your authentic self one day.