Today, October 11th is National Coming Out Day!
Rather you’ve been out for years, recently came out, or are in the process of coming out, today is the day to celebrate that experience! October 25th marks three years since I came out and honestly it feels like I came out way longer than three years ago. Coming out was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’ve felt so much more free ever since that day.
Coming out is not a one time deal, it’s something that happens over and over again. Thankfully, for me at least, it feels easier and easier every time. Becoming comfortable with who you are doesn’t happen over night and doesn’t happen just because you came out. Just know that where ever you are in the process of coming out, figuring out your sexuality / gender, or just simply embracing your LGBTQIA+ identity things get so much better.
If you’re coming out experience was / is negative, there is a huge community of people ready to love you and welcome you with open arms. You are not alone, and you will be okay. If you’re not ready to come out, don’t worry and don’t rush it! Come out when you want to and when it’s safe!
Happy National Coming Out Day!
For those who do not know, National Coming Out Day began on October 11th, 1987 when half a million people marched on Washington for LGBT Rights. Since that day, October 11th has been used to celebrate coming out and being out. Many people also use this day to come out for the very first time, or come out to a new person/group.
I remember when national coming out day came around while I was still in the closet. I felt a sense of urgency to do it that day, but got nervous and waited some more. National Coming Out Day is not supposed to pressure anyone to come out when they’re not ready, so if you’re in the closet and don’t feel ready – don’t come out today! This day did give me a little nudge to bite the bullet and tell my parents. I think it was beneficial to me to have national coming out day take place during the time I was deciding when to come out.
Part of me feels like we shouldn’t have to “come out” per se. We should be able to just start seeing someone, or have it come up in conversation. A big dramatic “let’s sit down and cry moment” isn’t always necessary or wanted. If that is your experience, there isn’t anything wrong with that, coming out to my parents was mildly dramatic, but if that’s not the experience you want then it doesn’t have to be that way.
For me, being out is liberating and incredibly important. I always try to be the “out person” that I needed when I was questioning my sexuality. Being out for me can also be very political, especially right now. Having out role models is crucial for people in the closet. It’s also really important for everyone else to see that LGBTQIA+ people are not some far off distant idea, but rather are your neighbors, friends, colleagues, and family members.
I hope everyone has an incredible National Coming Out Day, and is able to celebrate being LGBTQIA+!