National Coming Out Day
October 11, 2022
Every year National Coming Out Day is celebrated to bring awareness to the LGBTQIA+ community. On this day, many individuals tell family and friends about their sexuality and "come out of the closet" to fight homophobia that is thought to thrive in silence and ignorance.
National Coming Out Day was inspired by a single march. 500,000 people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 1987, generating momentum to last for 4 months after the march had ended. During this period, over a hundred LGBTQ+ identifying individuals gathered outside Washington, DC, and decided on creating a national day to celebrate coming out – this began on the 1st anniversary of their historic march.
It was Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary who first proposed the idea of NCOD. Eichberg founded a personal growth workshop, The Experience, and at the time, O’Leary was the head of National Gay Rights Advocates. Eichberg, who would later die in 1995 of complications from AIDS, had said the strongest tool in the human rights movement was to illustrate that most people already know and respect someone in the LGBTQ+ community, and NCOD helps these people come to light.
Over the last 15 years, the Human Rights Campaign has chosen a theme for every National Coming Out Day — 2014 and 2013 were both themed “Coming Out Still Matters,” and the earliest theme (1999) was “Come Out To Congress.” There have also been different spokespeople for each NCOD. Some notable names include “Frasier” actor Dan Butler and Candace Gingrich, half-sister of Newt Gingrich, in the 1990s.
NCOD gains popularity and participants every year. Since its inception, countless public figures and celebrities have openly identified themselves as LGBTQ+, and yearly share messages of support and hope for those still in the closet. Notable celebrities who tweeted in support of NCOD in 2019 include Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon and actress and advocate Sara Ramirez. The event plans to continue its efforts to eradicate hate and homophobia with friends and family coming out to dispel stereotypes.
Excerpt from National Today
The American Psychological Association adopts new policy for schools
In February 2016, APA adopted the policy resolution, "Resolution on Data About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity." It is pertinent to National Coming Out Day because some national level surveys have begun to include demographic questions about sexual orientation. APA supports also including questions about gender identity and expression in such surveys. These questions present an important new way for sexual and gender minorities to come out and, for the first time, to become visible in survey data that inform federal funding and policy decisions that have wide ranging impact.