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A History of National Coming Out Day

October 11, 2022



On October 11th, people around the world celebrate National Coming Out Day. This day marks an important date in LGBTQIA+ history: the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. In 1987, half a million people gathered in Washington D.C. to demand equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. The march was organized by Rob Eichberg and Jean O'Leary, co-founders of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and by activists from 500 different groups from across the country.

This day is celebrated annually as a way to remember the progress that has been made for LGBTQIA+ rights, and to continue the fight for equality. Here's a look at the history of this important day.

The First National Coming Out Day
The first National Coming Out Day was held on October 11th, 1988—one year after the historic march in Washington D.C. The goal of the day was to encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people to come out and be visible to help achieve equality. The idea was that if more people were open about their sexuality or gender identity, it would help break down the stereotypes and misconceptions that many people had about LGBTQIA+ people.

In its first year, National Coming Out Day was commemorated with events in cities across the United States. Today, it is celebrated all over the world with marches, rallies, workshops, and other events aimed at promoting visibility and equality for LGBTQIA+ people.

Recent Years
In recent years, National Coming Out Day has taken on a new meaning in the wake of a series of political attacks on the rights of LGBTQIA+ people. In 2017, for example, President Trump announced his intention to ban transgender people from serving in the military. This announcement was made on October 6th—just five days before National Coming Out Day.

In response to this announcement, many LGBTQIA+ organizations called for a different kind of coming out on October 11th—a coming out as transgender, or as an ally of the transgender community. This show of solidarity was seen as an act of resistance against a president who has attacked the rights of LGBTQIA+ people time and time again.

What You Can Do
There are many ways to get involved in National Coming Out Day, whether you're part of the LGBTQIA+ community or an ally. One way to participate is by attending one of the many events being held around the country (and the world) on October 11th. You can also show your support by sharing your story on social media using the hashtag #ComingOutDay or by donating to one of the many organizations working to protect and promote LGBTQIA+ rights. Whatever you do, remember that every person who comes out helps make our world a little bit more equal—and there's nothing more powerful than that.

National Coming Out Day is an important day in history not just for members of the LGBTQIA+ community but for everyone who believes in equality. On this day we remember how far we've come—and pledge to keep fighting until everyone enjoys full equality under the law regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. So whether you're celebrating your own coming out story or supporting someone else's today: happy coming out day!

Written By: 

Kollyn Conrad


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March 20th 2023

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