NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY
National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an annual event to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT+ community and civil rights movement. The day is celebrated in a whole host of different ways from parades and parties to rallies and information tables set up in public spaces.
Many countries take part in the NCOD festivities and awareness programmes including the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and much of Europe and participants from around the world can be seen wearing Pride symbols such as the rainbow flag.
NCOD was founded way back 1988 by Robert Eichberg, a psychologist from New Mexico and Jean O'Leary, an openly gay political leader from Los Angeles. They chose October 11 as the perfect date because it was the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights which took place the previous year.
So WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ‘COME OUT’?
Coming out is the process of personally accepting your homosexuality and disclosing it to family, friends and co-workers. Coming out is a different experience for every LGBT+ person. It can be an incredibly painful and anxious time or a joyous and heart-warming experience, bringing you closer to your loved ones.
The term ‘coming out’ refers to the idea that when a person keeps their identity concealed due to social or family pressures or personal shame they are hiding themselves and their true feelings in a closet, or ‘closeted’. The term is the source of many other slang expressions such as ‘Outed’- meaning to deliberately or accidentally disclose the sexual orientation or gender identity of an LGBT person without their consent.
SO WHY COME OUT?
Coming out allows a person to develop as a whole individual, allows for greater empowerment, and makes it easier for an individual to develop a positive self-image. By coming out, the person can share with others who they really are and what is important to them, rather than having to hide and lie about their identity. Coming out frees the person of the fear of being “found out” and helps them avoid living a double life, which can be extremely stressful and demoralizing. Finally, coming out makes it easier to connect with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender, which creates a sense of community.
"There are those in our lives that might be completely shut down because of their personal or religious beliefs. It's really important to create your own support system. It would be dishonest to say that there's always a happy ending with those you love. [That's why] it's so important to have allies around you that can help you get through the tough times." JAKE SHEARS, SCISSOR SISTERS
“Those who truly love you, will always love you and stand with you” BEVERLEY KNIGHT, MUSICIAN
"Fear. The underlying theme of my coming out story is fear. Fear of being discovered, fear of being rejected, fear of being unloved, fear of hurting the people I love. Fear of facing my fears head-on and then as a result, the fear of what would happen if I did." JAMES INGHAM, SHOWBIZ EDITOR DAILY STAR
"You should appreciate that it may be weird for your friends and family when you come out to them. You should respect that they may need some time to get their heads around what you tell them. Their silence or facial expressions do not mean that they don't approve, it just means that they need time to absorb what you are telling them." WAYNE DHESI, FOUNDER OF RUcomingOut