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Published on October 11th, 2012 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles

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National Coming Out Day (NCOD) 2012

Today is National Coming Out Day! Observed every year on October 11, National Coming Out Day promotes a safer world for LGBT individuals to live truthfully and openly. October 11 is the anniversary of the second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which took place back in 1987. Over half a million people participated in six days of demonstrations and activities.

National Coming Out Day is celebrated in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Participate in a local event, post something on Facebook, or embrace this day in your own way!

It All Started With a March

On Oct. 11, 1987 over half a million people showed up to March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It was the second such demonstration in our nation’s capitol and resulted in the founding of many of today’s LGBT organizations. The movement continued four months after this extraordinary march as more then 100 LGBT activists from around the country gathered in Manassas, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. Recognizing that the LGBT community often reacted defensively to anti-gay actions, they came up with the idea of a national day to celebrate coming out and chose the anniversary of that second march on Washington to mark it. The originators of the idea were Rob Eichberg, a founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O’Leary, then head of National Gay Rights Advocates. From this idea the National Coming Out Day was born.

HRC’s Theme’s for NCOD

Every year the Human Rights Campaign announces a theme to exemplify the spirit of National Coming Out Day. This year with the election right around the corner, there’s no better time to send a message that you want your elected officials to come out in support of LGBT equality.

2012 – Come Out. Vote.

2010 – Coming Out for Equality

2009 – Conversations from the Heart

2007 – Talk About It

2006 – Talk About It

2005 – Talk About It

2004 – Come Out. Speak Out. Vote

2003 – It’s a Family Affair

2002 – Being Out Rocks!

2001 – An Out Odyssey

2000 – Think it O-o-ver (Who Will Pick the New Supremes?)

1999 – Come Out to Congress

HRC Coming Out Resources – Click Here

What Does It Mean to “Come Out”?

Since most of you have already left the closet out in whatever way works best for you, I will only briefly touch on this. “Coming out of the closet” (figure of speech) is the process or journey of personally accepting your homosexuality and disclosing it to family, co-workers and friends. Coming out is different for everyone since all of our circumstances are unique to us. Some of us experience a lot of stress and suffering, while for others, acceptance is a happy time of letting go. It’s perfectly normal to experience fear, doubt, loneliness, anger and even depression. It’s helpful to surround yourself with others that may be going through the same transition or who have already come out. Since they have “been there” and “done that” they can be a source of support. If you don’t have any gay friends yet, or don’t know anyone else coming out, there are literally an endless amount of online resources, like Healthy Gay Lifestyles, that have plenty of educational content.

Why Should I Come Out?

For years I was in a closeted relationship and conditioned to hide who I was. I now know for me that was a mistake. We all gain strength, courage, and confidence every time we really stop to look fear in the face. Being able to live without fear and not feeling ashamed of who we are allows us to lead happier more authentic lives with those around us. Having the pride to come out helps to create a larger foundation and more powerful LGBT community, and it’s on that foundation we will build a better tomorrow for us all.

So many celebrities, volunteers, and activist (ie: Stonewall Riots – 1969, Ellen DeGeneres -1997, Barney Frank – 1987) have paved the way so that all of our lives are better. This list is too long for me to list them all, but I think it’s important we all honor and support those whose courage and sacrifice has allowed for us, and those yet to come, to lead safer and more accepted lifestyles.

Be Proud of Who You Are!

Hold your head up high and don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed. Don’t apologize or allow yourself to feel ashamed of it to anyone when you tell them the truth about yourself. Learn to not care about the naysayers…if they don’t accept you for who you are then they may need time to think about it. Instead, be positive and firm in that happy outlook so that anyone who seems disappointed or sad about it will know that you are fine and happy.

No matter what level of “Coming Out” and living ever more openly is right for you, you should always be in the driver’s seat about how, where, when and with whom you choose to be open. As a gay man be proud of who you are and your support for LGBT equality this Coming Out Day!

 


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