National Coming Out Day
Tuesday, October 11, 2022 marks the 35th anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. This celebration - also known as National Coming Out Day - is a part of LGBT History Month. National Coming Out Day was first celebrated October 11, 1988 as a way to show pride in living authentically and to show support for LGBTQ+ equality.
The term “coming out” is a shortened version of the phrase “coming out of the closet.” It is the process of people who are LGBTQ+ accepting their sexual orientation or gender identity and sharing that identity with other people.
What’s the significance of the 1987 protest? More than half a million people gathered together for the march, driven primarily by anger over the government’s slow response to the AIDS pandemic and the Supreme Court ruling of Bowers v. Hardwick to uphold Georgia’s sodomy law. Led by Cesar Chavez, Eleanor Smeal, Jesse Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg and others, the march was part of six days of activities. It was the second of numerous marches on Washington, DC for the rights of lesbians and gays.
Protestors sought to establish legal recognition of gay relationships, ban discrimination by the federal government, pass a Congressional lesbian and gay civil rights bill and end discrimination against people with AIDS, among other demands.
What You Can Do
If you’d like to learn more about coming out and living authentically, or if you’d like to learn how you can be an ally, visit the Human Rights Campaign website for resources.
Here are a couple of ideas offered by the Human Rights Campaign:
- Talk candidly and honestly with your LGBTQ+ loved ones about their lives, if they are comfortable
- Talk to your elected officials about LGBTQ+ rights
- If you hear an anti-LGBTQ+ comment or joke, speak up and explain why you find it harmful or offensive
- Get connected with the community by joining groups on social networking platforms and go to pride celebrations
We asked the Chaffey College community a couple of questions via social media about “National Coming Out Day” and here’s what we heard in response:
What does coming out mean to you?
Student 1 – “It means accepting myself for who I am and building a life full of people that accept me for me.”
Student 2 – “Learning to live your true self! Embracing that you are different.”
Student 3 – “For me, it was just about getting to college and realizing that there were gay men like me.”
What advice would you give someone not out yet?
Student 1 – “It’s not easy, but once you do then the weight of it all will come off, but do it on your time.”
Student 2 – “Before coming out consider if you’re financially dependent on someone who will ‘cut you off.’”
Student 3 – “Remember, you can talk to someone if you are struggling.”
What kind of support can college offer to those struggling to come out?
Student 1 – “Support groups and mental health help.”
Student 2 – “A safe space. Someone to talk with. And posts like this so I don’t feel isolated.”
At Chaffey College we are dedicated to empowering, advocating, and providing an inclusive space for the LGBTQIA2s+ community through educational programming, community partnerships, and faculty and staff engagement. For resources and opportunities to get connected, visit our Resource Page.