Across the globe, many countries will recognise National Coming Out Day, an event to celebrate coming out and raise awareness of the LGBT+ community being able to live their lives openly.
11th October 1988: First ever #NationalComingOutDay is observed. NCOD was founded by Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary, to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT+ community and civil rights movement. Happy National Coming Out Day! ? #OnThisDay #Queerstory pic.twitter.com/vrtVQH10HA
— Gay Community News (@GCNmag) October 11, 2018
The first ever National Coming Out Day was observed in 1988, when psychologist Richard Eichberg and activist Jean O’Leary decided to fight back against discrimination. Taking place during the height of the AIDS crisis, they conceived of the day as a protest against the lack of research on the epidemic due to homophobia. Since then, the date has become an important event in the LGBT+ calendar.
Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign released the statement: “Coming out is one of the most courageous acts any LGBTQ person makes, and on this National Coming Out Day that courage remains essential to our continued progress toward full equality. As LGBTQ people across the nation and around the world continue to come out, opposition to equality will continue to crumble. Sharing our stories is a key way each of us can fight back against attempts to turn back the clock on LGBTQ equality.”
In the US, Facebook have decided to mark the occasion by allowing users to add a ‘came out’ addition to the life events section on their profile. Spokesperson, Tudor Havriliuc, said: “For the LGBTQ community, Facebook is a way for you to come out, celebrate your pride and find support. Visibility is so important because it changes hearts and minds about being LGBTQ when friends and family see us living our true lives.”
On Channel 4 in the UK, celebrities and and activists including Gok Wan, Dustin Lance Black and Ruth Hunt of the charity Stonewall will appear throughout the day talking about their own experiences.
The station’s Angus Wyatt said: “National Coming Out Day is not about forcing people to come out, it is about showing people who may be questioning their sexuality or gender identity that there are so many of us who have made that step, and for whom it has got better.”
While not everyone’s experiences of coming out are positive ones, it is important to be proud of who you are and not allow anyone to force you to hide your true self.
If you would like support or advice on your own coming out or if you have been affected by this issue, contact LGBT+ Ireland, they’re there to help.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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