National Coming Out Day was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg, a psychologist from New Mexico, and Jean O’Leary, an openly gay political leader from Los Angeles, on behalf of the personal growth workshop, “The Experience and National Gay Rights Advocates.”
The date of October 11 coincides with the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
“For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans all across this country, coming out is one of the hardest things they will ever do. No matter what state you call home, a conservative church, community, or even your own family can inadvertently force you to suffer in silence.
“Even today, living openly in the face of that pressure can require almost superhuman personal strength…..If you feel like you’re not living as openly as you could, consider changing that on Saturday. And if someone close to you chooses Saturday – or any other day – to honor you by revealing the truth about his or her life, know what courage that took, and offer every reassurance and affirmation you can.”
National Coming Out Day is observed in a wide variety of ways: from rallies and parades to information tables in public spaces. Participants often wear pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags.
What’s your coming out story? (Share it in the comments.)