By: Tomi Simmons
October 11, 2018, marks the 30’th anniversary of National Coming Out Day for the LGBTQ community. In the 1980’s the day first came about in order to show activism and visibility in communities of homophobia. It was created at the second Lesbian and Gay Rights March on Washington by activists Robert Eichberg and Jean O’ Leary. Eichberg had workshops in Los Angeles where he wanted to influence young people to live open lifestyles. Being a psychologist, he did studies on “coming out,” and eventually found that the more people were open about their sexuality, the more family and friends were accepting.
Coming Out about sexuality can be intimidating because one worries about people’s reactions and if they will keep mutual respectful relationships with loved ones. However, it is important to remember as members and allies of the LGBTQ community, to support those who are afraid to come out and those who are living open lifestyles. One is not more validated than the other by any means.
There have been great strides towards the equality of LGBTQ people. As same-sex marriage is legal in all fifty states and accepting and normalizing LGBTQ people has become almost expected.
Though there has been massive progress, hate is still sometimes in the shadows. There are members of the LGBTQ community who do not feel worthy and that they have to hide who they are; because of shame, violence, abuse, and bigotry. In addition, religious tactics are often used to deter those who want to come out.
“LGBTQ Coming Out Day” is a time for those in the LGBTQ community to feel accepted. It is a time for people to embrace who they are and to be unapologetic about it. In the future, National Coming Out Day will hopefully no longer exist because all sexualities will be normalized.