The term “coming out” refers to publicly acknowledging one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity and is widely considered a cultural rite of passage for LGBT people.
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.
The holiday 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.
In addition to the United States, National Coming Out Day is also observed in many countries, including Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Croatia, and Poland. In the United Kingdom, National Coming Out Day is celebrated on October 12.
What’s your coming out story?