Everyone's sexual orientation journey is different. Personally, I first came out as gay and then as bisexual. It has taken me a long time to get the point where I am comfortable with my bisexuality (the biphobia, even within the LGBTQ+ community, is very real).
People always seem to have questions. Some people are okay with receiving these questions, while others are more private. Let me make this very clear:
Nobody is entitled to tell you anything about their sexuality, coming out process, who they are dating, who they are sleeping with, and who they are attracted to.
However, curiosity is normal and sometimes asking questions is good. I am writing this based on my personal experience, so I cannot speak on behalf of the entire LGBTQ+ community (that's virtually impossible). We all have our own identities and experiences. If you want to better understand someone's sexual orientation, here are some things to keep in mind. Your purpose for asking these questions should be to better understand and respect the individual, not to demean or attack them. Before you talk to them, check out this website. These are all sensitive questions and should be handled with care.
1. I want to better understand you as a person. Are you comfortable if I ask some questions regarding your sexuality?
This may seem forward and direct—and it should be. You need to be clear about what you want to discuss. If they say no, drop it. If they say yes, see number two.
2. What are your pronouns?
People often assume pronouns based on how somebody presents physically, but that shouldn't be the case. Pronouns are a huge part of someone's identity. If you cannot respect someone's pronouns, then you shouldn't be having this conversation with them.
3. Are you comfortable if we continue to have this conversation?
I know there have been times that I have felt obligated to have conversations about my sexuality because someone cornered me into the conversation. If someone had asked me this question, it would have meant so much.
4. How did you know you identified as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?
Everyone's process is different. For some people, it's a gradual discover;y for others, they have always known it and are just coming to terms with it.
5. What was your coming out process like?
This is a very personal question and should be handled with care. Learning someone's coming out process can allow you to better understand who the person is.
6. How can I support you?
Support can mean different things to different people. Asking this question can be a breath of fresh air for someone who has a hard time asking for support.
7. What do you feel society lacks when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights?
There are honestly so many things that society still lacks when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, but hearing it from a member of the community can really change your perspective.
8. What has your life been like since you came out (if you have already come out)?
Coming out can be beautiful or terrifying. It completely alters someone life.