On October 11, 1987, half a million folks participated in a march for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Washington D.C. The second anniversary of the march was declared National Coming Out Day and has been celebrated annually ever since. Each year, this day promotes a safe space for LGBTQIA+ folks to come out and live openly, authentically, and truthfully.
Why does it matter?
Coming out isn’t a one-time thing. Even those of us who have come out to friends or family on one occasion, usually have to come out multiple times in our lives. For instance when we make a new friend, get a new job, or move to a new neighborhood. This can be mentally exhausting depending on who you have to come out to. Let’s face it, we still live in a world where it’s assumed you are straight and cisgender until you say otherwise.
People around the world may face violence, inequality, or even death over who they love/ who they are. And Today’s political climate here in the states has made it harder on LGBTQIA+ folks as well. We have a president who is uninterested in protecting our rights, and who has emboldened many peoples homophobia and racism. Coming out can absolutely be a form of activism.
Not only does a day like today raise awareness that pretty much EVERYONE knows someone who is part of the community, but when folks see that someone they care about is a part of a marginalized group they are more likely to wake up and take action, with their voices or at the ballot.
A love letter to those who cannot come out…
Today feels like a celebration to those of us who have come out and are able to stand in our truth. It wasn’t always this way for me, that’s for sure. I remember the days where I was questioning my sexuality and wondering if I would be accepted by my job and my family if I told them the feelings deep within me. You have your reasons for waiting which are VALID. Your safety and security are extremely important, and you do not have to rush. I hope you know you are loved and supported, and that this is a safe space for you <3. We will be here when/if you are ever ready. Do not be discouraged.
To my lovely bi and pansexual friends who are in heterosexual marriages who struggle to be seen and validated, I SEE YOU. I love you! You are loved.
In loving memory…
I want to take a moment to acknowledge Matthew Shepard. Tomorrow will be 19 years since he was viciously murdered for being gay. In the aftermath of his tragic death, his parents started the Matthew Shepard Foundation and their main goal is to #EraseHate. Unfortunately, hate like this still exists today and many others have lost their lives for being gay. Matthew’s face is very recognizable to society. His death sparked a lot of interest and compassion, and the work his family is doing is remarkable.
Violence against transgender folks is at an ALL TIME HIGH, and national media coverage is severely lacking. Victims of anti-trans violence are overwhelmingly transgender women of color. Let’s NOT FORGET OUR TRANS BROTHERS/SISTERS/HUMANS who need our love, support, and protection now more than ever.
Read our coming out stories here:
Accepting my Bisexuality – by Megan Ashley
Pride Part One- My Coming Out Story – by Tanya Marie