I found that for me it was a gradual thing. My parents and siblings found out when I was 17. Some of my friends found out around that time, but I pretty much kept it on the downlow--not sure how I felt about it.
When I moved to Honolulu, I met my first and only boyfriend. I was not expecting to find him--at all. A week after we met, there was a function that I wanted to bring him to. Now, I spent most of my professional and even personal life "passing" as straight. I personally don't think that it is anybody's business whom I bring to my bed. Full Disclosure: I am bi-sexual, so this does go back and forth.
With this new person in my life, I decided that I never want someone that I love to feel that I might be ashamed of them or our relationship, so it was then that I started to let people know that we were dating. It was a bit chaotic, but my true friends stayed close are still quite supportive.
For me it helped that I first accepted myself as a gay/bi man. No amount of acceptance from anyone else will make up for you being okay with you. When I did this, I became able to face anyone and any situation.
I still don't advertise that I like to sleep with men or women for that matter. When I meet someone that I find attractive and intelligent, I let them know that I enjoy both. That way they can make an informed decision.
I have found that this has resulted in highly engaging and healthy relationships. And while I am no longer with that first boyfriend, I will always be grateful for everything that we learned together.
Remember, this is all about you. Move at your pace--that is something that you know better than anyone else.
Big Angry 1