Another day, another thing to celebrate. Wednesday is National Coming Out Day (NCOD) in the United States, a day dedicated to bringing attention to and support for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and the many ways they choose to share their identities with the world.
The term “coming out” is short for the common phrase “coming out from those closest to you,” a metaphor used to describe the process by which LGBTQIA+ people reveal their identity to those around them.
While the word sounds like it refers to a moment in time, “coming out” can mean something different to each person, and often involves a longer process of coming to terms with one’s identity before sharing it with a chosen group and the world at large. .
Held annually on October 11, NCOD exists to not only encourage and support people to share their authentic selves with the world, but also to bring awareness to the experiences and challenges members of the LGBTQIA+ community face when deciding how and when to make decisions Reveal who they are.
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What is National Coming Out Day?
National Coming Out Day is celebrated annually in the United States on October 11, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
As well as providing public support and encouragement to those who have not come out, are coming out or have proudly come out, it also aims to increase the visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Community members (and allies!) are everywhere, and initiatives like NCOD not only remind people that communities exist and should be supported, but also bring awareness to the importance of acceptance and education.
Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement. “The harsh truth is that we still live in a world where many LGBTQ+ people find it difficult to come out publicly for fear of interpersonal or institutional harm. For those of us who can safely come out, it is vital that we do so cabinet and make it clear that we will not support anything less than the equality we deserve.”
Why do we have a National Coming Out Day? When did it start?
National Coming Out Day was created in 1988 and was inspired by the March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights that took place the previous year.
On October 11, 1987, half a million people participated in a march past the White House and the National Mall, demanding an end to sexual orientation discrimination and more funding to combat AIDS, which had become a highly lethal epidemic in the United States. America at that time.
Well-known activists Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary, who lead Experience and the National Advocates for Gay Rights respectively, first proposed the establishment of NCOD to commemorate the 1987 This is a landmark moment in the annual parade.
Eichberg, who later died of complications from AIDS in 1995, said in an interview before his death that one of the most important components of the NCOD movement is helping people realize how many LGBTQIA+ people exist in society and even in their lives. Have a family, a social circle and a life.
“Most people think they don’t know anyone gay, but in fact everyone does,” he once said, according to a New York Times obituary. “We have to stand up and let people know who we are and eliminate their Fear and stereotypes.”
The Human Rights Campaign announces new NCOD themes every year, such as “Coming Out Still Matters” or the first theme in 1999, “Coming Out to Congress.”
This year’s theme is “Stand Up Against Hate,” encouraging allies to “join HRC and countless LGBTQ+ people in taking a stand against hate in schools, libraries, and everywhere they live, work, and play.”
HRC said taking public action is especially important this year because there were hundreds of bills aimed at attacking LGBTQIA+ people last year alone. The Human Rights Commission said the legislation remained at an all-time high, prompting the organization to declare a national emergency in June.
“While the LGBTQ community has made significant progress in recent years, we still have a long way to go in the United States. Currently, many LGBTQ young people say they live in families or communities that do not accept LGBTQ people,” said Keygan Miller .the interim director of public training at The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth advocacy group, told USA TODAY.
“It’s also important to consider the context of our current political environment. This year alone, more than 650 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in states across the country. The dangerous rhetoric we’re hearing from lawmakers about these bills has seeped into the daily lives of LGBTQ young people. lives and affects how they are treated.”
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Where to find support and how to find resources
According to HRC, there are an estimated 20 million LGBTQ+ adults and more than 2 million LGBTQ+ youth in the United States. Everyone’s journey to finding their voice and sharing their identity is different, but having support and resources can be helpful for anyone, allies including loved ones.
human rights movement
The HRC has published three new coming out guides for those who may need advice and guidance on how to live up to their NCOD. They also offer webinars and a complete coming out resources page with intersectional guidance on coming out and living for people of different demographics and backgrounds.
People looking for local groups in their community can use the website’s “In Your Area” tool to find local groups, ways to get involved and volunteer, and what HRC is involved in supporting LGBTQIA+ people near you.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is an organization working to end suicide among LGBTQIA+ youth. Their website is full of useful links, information and mental health services.
Perhaps most importantly, their website offers a free 24/7 suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth, which can be called via text message, online chat, or phone call. The hotline is staffed by trained counselors and is available 365 days a year.
They also offer TrevorSpace, an “affirming online community for LGBTQ young people aged 13 to 24” with over 400,000 members worldwide, offering a potential lifeline to those looking for support offline. Life.
Like HRC, The Trevor Project has a coming out manual and resource center, which provides a wealth of valuable information for people at any stage of their life journey.
Keygan Miller told USA TODAY that resources on their website, such as handbooks, can help allies support their loved ones as well as LGBTQ people.
“Coming out is a very personal journey, and coming out can look very different for each LGBTQ person. There is no right or wrong way to come out, and a person may have many valid reasons for choosing to come out. cabinet. no Come out,” they said.
“For anyone considering coming out, it’s important to know that they deserve love, respect and support. And for any young person who feels unaccepted by those around them – know that this is their responsibility.”
SAGE National LGBTQ+ Aging Resource Center
The SAGE National LGBTQ+ Aging Resource Center recognizes that it’s not just young people who are struggling with the prospect of coming out. As an organization focused on supporting and connecting older members of the community, their website contains a wealth of information not only for LGBTQIA+ seniors and their families, but for anyone looking to get involved.
The center also offers its own hotline specifically for older LGBTQ+ people, which operates 24/7, 365 days a year and is staffed by personnel certified to handle crisis situations.
They also provide information and referral forms to connect LGBTQ+ seniors and their families with aging services, a technical assistance program that provides information on best practices to aging network providers, and supports further education and research in the community. programming, as well as local volunteer opportunities.
You can also use their state search tool to find local resources or check out their later life guides.
GLSEN (formerly the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network)
GLSEN is another resource for teens (especially students in grades K-12) that focuses on education and awareness. GLSEN assists in the development of inclusive curriculum, supportive educators, safer school environments and provides opportunities for people to participate in local chapters, train and seek assistance with educational resources.
They also created their own guide to coming out.
If you are struggling with your identity and experiencing a crisis, having suicidal thoughts or need someone to talk to, please contact the Trevor Project 24/7 hotline at www.thetrevorproject/get-help/ at 1-866-488-7386 or send Text 678-678.