DEI Story of the Month: National Coming Out Day

Did you know that National Coming Out Day was inspired by a single march? On October 11, 1987, 500,000 people marched in Washington, D.C. for Lesbian and Gay Rights. In the months after this historic march, a group of more than 100 LGBTQ+ identifying persons worked together to create a national day to celebrate coming out. National Coming Out Day is now celebrated on the anniversary of the original historic march.

National Coming Out Day was an idea that originated by Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary. Both founders were already activists. O’Leary created the Lesbian Feminist Liberation and Eichberg created an organization in Los Angeles that fought for the right of the LGBTQ+ community. Eichberg is credited with stating that most people today already know and care for someone in the LGBTQ+ community and he believed that National Coming Out Day simply gave a voice to these people.

Every year National Coming Out Day grows in the number of participants and the attention it receives. Many celebrities have used their platforms to help extend the reach of this important celebration; others have courageously stepped forward on NCOD to identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community themselves. National Coming Out Day has also become a time to highlight injustices and homophobia and to work toward a kinder future.

This year, on October 11th, we can all take part in National Coming Out Day. This is a day when many people identify themselves as LGBTQ+ to their family and/or friends for the first time, which can be life-changing. It is also a time for those who are already members of this community to celebrate the freedom they have found in being wholly themselves, and for allies to display their support, by putting up flags or wearing pride pins.

Written by Jill Hart, LIMHP, LPC, PLADC

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