Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day! A day to celebrate coming out as a part of the LGTQA+ community and I can hardly believe I came out 3 years ago. In case you didn’t know… SURPRISE! I’m a lesbian. I’m sure most people figured that out right?
Thankfully, I was extremely lucky to be one of the people that has a positive coming out story. I thought at the time that people would not take it well and was absolutely terrified. I first came out to friends then slowly to my family. Everyone reacted pretty great. Some people claim they had even figured it out on their own.
But coming out is hard and scary. I remember everything any of my friends or family said negatively about the LGBTQA+ community before I came out. I took everything to heart and assumed that everyone would hate me or be in denial.
What is National Coming Out Day?
National Coming Out Day started on October 11th, 1988, exactly one year after the march on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The original march was to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic that was affecting the community.
National Coming Out Day is dedicated to raising awareness of civil rights issues for the LGBTQA+ community. The Human Rights Campaign views it as a way to help create an environment where being open about your sexuality/gender identity is possible. Everyone knows someone who is a part of the LGBTQA+ community, whether they realize it or not. One idea of National Coming Out Day is that by coming out you can help show that our community is more than stereotypes and help normalize the LGBTQA+ community.
Many people are faced with negative reactions when they come out that can greatly impact their lives. It isn’t even possible for many people to come out because homosexuality is still considered illegal in 74 countries. In 13 countries homosexuality and bisexuality are punishable by death. Even in countries where it is no longer illegal, you may not be able to come out because of the risk of rejection by those closest to them or their religion, being thrown out from their home, or being emotionally or physically abused.
The world has come a pretty far since the first Coming Out Day in 1988, but we still have a long way to go.
Coming out is unbelievably scary and often really hard. Often, coming out to yourself is even hard. Coming out takes a lot of bravery and strength, but coming out will let you live a more authentic and honest life. Hiding such a huge part of yourself can be so hard on your mental health and coming out can be a really empowering experience.
Coming out isn’t a one-time thing, but a constant process. Each person you meet is a new chance to come out, which can be very emotionally draining, but remember you don’t have to come out at all times, you have a say over when and where is right for you. If you don’t feel comfortable coming out to the waitress or Uber driver who asks if you two are “best friends” or the nosey distant relative who wants to know why you didn’t bring a boyfriend home you don’t have to.
PSA: Today is a day to celebrate coming out but that does not mean you should out someone. There are so many reasons that someone is unable to come out or they might not be ready. Don’t force that on them!
- It Get’s Better – A project to let teens know that they are not alone and that things will get better
- The Trevor Project: Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention – Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQA+ youth
- Out and Equal – LGBTQA+ workplace advocates
- PFLAG – Information, resources, support and tools for parents of friends of LGBTQA+ people
I will be making a video for our Youtube channel, Allie and Sam, soon going into detail about my coming out process and experience so stay tuned and subscribe so you don’t miss it!