Thirty years ago, on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, US first observed National Coming Out Day as a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out.
One out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian. For transgender people, that number is only one in 10.
Coming out – whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or allied – STILL MATTERS. When people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories can be powerful to each other.
In honour of National Coming Out Day, FSoG honours all who have come out as LGBTQ or as a straight ally for equality.
That takes bravery, and we commend you.
Every person who speaks up changes more hearts and minds, and creates new advocates for equality.
On Oct. 11, 1987, half a million people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It was the second such demonstration in our nation’s capital and resulted in the founding of a number of LGBTQ organizations, including the National Latino/a Gay & Lesbian Organization (LLEGÓ) and AT&T’s LGBTQ employee group, LEAGUE. The momentum continued four months after this extraordinary march. As more than 100 LGBTQIA activists from around the country gathered in Manassas, Va., outside Washington, D.C.
Recognising that the LGBTQ community often reacted defensively to anti-LGBTQ actions, they came up with the idea of a national day. It is meant to celebrate coming out. They chose the anniversary of that second march on Washington to mark it. The originators were Rob Eichberg, a founder of the personal growth workshop. The Experience, and Jean O’Leary, then head of National Gay Rights Advocates. From this idea the National Coming Out Day was born.
Each year on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day continues to promote a safe world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly.