Wednesday, October 11, 2006

National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day. This is the day when you are supposed to tell someone who does not know yet that you are queer. This gay holiday is to commemorate October 11th, 1987, when 500,000 people marched on Washington DC for gay and lesbian equality. Since that day our community has celebrated October 11th as a day to come out to family, friends, and everyone else.

Coming out is the number one most important thing that any LGBT person can do in the struggle for equality. It really is the only way we will win our fight. When one person comes out, it promotes other to come out as well. Once everyone realizes that they have a gay family member, friend, or co-worker; we will be well on our way to full equality.

Harvey Milk said it best in a speech following the defeat of Proposition 6, which would have barred gays and lesbians from teaching the public schools:

"Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends, if indeed they are your friends. You must tell your neighbors. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize we are indeed their children, we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo, will be destroyed once and for all. And once... once you do, you will feel so much better."

Harvey Milk was the very first openly gay elected official in the United States. He was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. The story of his election made national news. Never before had an openly gay man run for office and won.

Tragically, twenty days after Harvey Milk made this speech; he was shot and killed by San Francisco Supervisor Dan White. Shortly before he was killed, Harvey Milk said, “If a bullet should go through my head let that bullet go through every closet door.”

If there is anyone you have not come out to yet, do it today. If you have come out to everyone you can possibly think of then I have some suggestions for you.

To celebrate National Coming Out Day:

1. Come out to your legislators
Write them a letter explaining why safe schools, marriage equality, and trans rights are important to you personally. Find your legislators here.

2. Hold hands in public
This is a great way of coming out to a bunch of people at once! Kidding aside, this really is important. When other gay couples see you holding your partner's hand in public, they will do the same. It will also remind everyone else that we are here and we are everywhere.

3. Come out on the sidewalk or in traffic
Wear a rainbow pin or gay button today. If you drive, put a rainbow sticker on your car. Other queers will see it and smile.

4. Come out at dinner
Take a date or your loved one to a romantic dinner. Don't be afraid to be affectionate.

5. Come out for a political candidate
The election is just weeks away. Pro-gay candidates need help on their campaigns. Volunteer for one near you. Let them know that you appreciate their stance on LGBT issues.

It is most important to come out to your family and friends. There are many ways to do it. The Human Rights Campaign has some coming out resources. There are many important reasons to come out as well. No matter how or why you do it; come out, come out, wherever you are!


At 5:34 PM, Blogger Owen said...

I came out of the closet, and have been out of the closet now for sixteen years. I have apparently been shoved back into the closet, however, on your list of pro-gay candidates. Won't you let me out?

May this be corrected soon?

Sincerely yours,

Owen R. Broadhurst

The very first out of the closet candidate ever to campaign for state representative in the Third Hampden District.


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