National Coming Out Day: Why is still important?
How To Celebrate National Coming Out Day?
Why We Celebrate National Coming Out Day
According to the Advocate, National Coming Out Day is “a positive celebration of queerness that encourages folks to share their truth with the world and take a stand against homophobia”.
The first National Coming Out Day can be traced back to October 11, 1987, when more than half a million people showed up to Washington D.C. for the National March for Lesbian and Gay rights. In the next year, queer activists Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary chose to commemorate the anniversary of that fateful day by dubbing it National Coming Out Day.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the special day was created as “a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out” – the power of showing up and standing proud amidst a hateful world.
Is National Coming Out Day Still Relevant Today?
Some people argue that National Coming Out Day is no longer relevant. After all, 2SLGBTQ+ representation in the media is at an all-time high, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2005, and queer parents are free to adopt children – that is, in Canada at least.
In other countries around the world, 2SLGBTQ+ people still face discrimination and violence to this day. Many countries have yet to legalize same-sex marriage and same-sex couple adoption. And some places don’t even have comprehensive anti-discrimination laws to protect 2SLGBTQ+ people at school or in the workplace. All of this makes it difficult for queer people to come out and live authentically without any fear.
Even in countries that are more inclusive and accepting of 2SLGBTQ+ people, there is still a potential threat of discrimination, harassment, and exclusion. In the US, transgender people have faced enormous discrimination during the Trump administration, from the removal of protections from discrimination in healthcare to a sports ban on transgender athletes. In Canada (as in most other parts of the world), 2SLGBTQ+ people experience the highest risk of homelessness, drug addiction, and suicidal ideation.
With all that being said, National Coming Out Day is undoubtedly still relevant today.
How To Celebrate National Coming Out Day
If you want to join in on the celebration, here are 3 ways you can participate in National Coming Out Day:
- If you’re queer and out, share your own coming-out story. If you had a positive coming out story, this can inspire and empower other 2SLGBTQ+ people who are afraid to come out. If you had a negative experience, this can help people understand that coming out can also be a difficult process that requires a lot of thought and preparation.
- Share important resources. Talk about community centres and organizations in your community that focus on queer youth. Donate to and share donation links to 2SLGBTQ+ charities like The Trevor Project, Rainbow Railroad, and the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention.
- Learn about inspiring coming out stories, the experience of those who found a supportive environment and those who manage rejection. There is so much to learn from these stories of bravery and strong will to live and be who you really are.
The Bottom Line
This year, we celebrate the 34th national Coming Out Day. While the holiday is a great opportunity to recognize all the amazing progress we’ve made as a community, providing safe spaces to be out but it’s also a reminder that there is still so much work to do.