IntraSpectrum Counseling is proud to celebrate National Coming Out Day! It’s an important time when we can tell the world that we are not ashamed of our identities, and that queer people are just like everyone else. Sharing our stories can also be incredibly powerful to each other. Click here for info on how to support and celebrate National Coming out Day, and click here for coming out resources.
National Coming Out Day (NCOD) started in the US in 1988 as an annual LGBTQ+ awareness day, to support anyone “coming out of the closet” (a metaphor used to describe an LGBTQ+ person’s self-disclosure of their sexual orientation or gender identity). Over 30 years later NCOD is still highly relevant to LGBTQ+ communities and their allies, across the country and even around the world.
Sharing our coming-out stories and talking about coming out on National Coming Out Day is important:
- It helps raises the visibility of issues that LGBTQ+ individuals face
- It helps strengthen our communities
- It offers hope, solidarity, reassurance and support to others with similar experiences
- It helps impact the harmful stereotypes and hateful laws that affect members of the LGBTQ+ community every day
National Coming Out Day isn’t a time to force LGBTQ+ people to come out, or to shame anyone who hasn’t done so. It’s a day to honor the beauty of being true to yourself, the courage to share an important part of your life with others, and the joy of celebrating those who may come out to you. National Coming Out Day is also a time to acknowledge the difficulties of coming out, and to remember that for many, coming out can be scary, dangerous – or simply not a safe option.
The experience of coming out is unique to each LGBTQ+ person, and for most people it’s not a single or one-time event:
- For some people, coming out may not be an issue; it may only involve correcting someone’s assumptions about them, or introducing a partner or spouse
- Others who choose to come out to close friends and / or family may decide to wait to come out to co-workers, school mates, extended family members, or casual acquaintances
- Still others may find coming out to be a huge challenge, because they fear or may face discrimination, bullying, or judgment. This can cause them to remain ‘in the closet’ and continue to struggle with striving to be themselves
Over the last few decades, we’ve seen huge progress for the LGBTQ+ community, with legislation on same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination laws, and educational reforms all helping to protect and support LGBTQ+ people. But make no mistake: today our communities are living in a State of Emergency. LGBTQ+ people (even teens and kids!) in many parts of the country are suffering from increased attacks, hate, bigotry and abuse. Yet all the while, our communities remain resilient. We continue to come together to celebrate ourselves, to support each other, and to advocate for our rights. And through our actions, we are sending a clear message against the hate, bigotry, and the over 580 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in state houses around the country: we are not going anywhere.
Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or as an ally, we encourage everyone to celebrate National Coming Out Day in your own way, if it feels safe to do so. Not only is it an important part of LGBTQ+ history, it also reminds us of the joy and pride of being openly LGBTQ+ and makes us mindful of the ongoing struggles that some LGBTQ+ people face just for being themselves. Because for many of us, true equality and equity simply aren’t here yet.
IntraSpectrum Counseling is Chicago’s leading psychotherapy practice dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, providing high-quality affirming mental health care for multicultural, identity, kink, polyamorous, and intersectional issues. We encourage everyone to take time to celebrate National Coming Out Day in your own way – and even if coming out today doesn’t feel safe or comfortable, know that you always have our support. For anyone needing affirming and validating support in their healing, please click here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.