National Coming Out Day, which takes place every year on October 11th, is the continuation of a 25-year tradition of celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) experience of coming out, as well as a platform for discussing issues that face the LGBTQI community. This tradition started with the October 11th, 1987 March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights. This March was the catalyst for several LGBTQI related initiatives, including National Coming Out Day. This celebration was the brainchild of the late Robert Eichberg, writer and gay activist, and the late Jean O’Leary, a gay and lesbian activist and then head of the National Gay Rights Advocates.
National Coming Out Day is about celebrating an important part of one’s identity and standing with others, both past and present, as they take pride in their identity as an LGBTQI identified person or ally. While society has made tremendous strides in the acceptance of LGBTQI identified individuals, the process of disclosing one’s sexual or gender identity is still an anxiety-provoking and difficult experience for many, especially individuals who perceive those important to them as non-supportive. However, it is also a freeing and empowering experience, and that empowerment and sense of solidarity is what National Coming Out Day is all about.
The unique needs of LGBTQI identified individuals related to self-acceptance and the coming out process have been noticed. At Chicago-based IntraSpectrum Counseling, we focus on creating a warm and affirming environment that encourages examination and expression of one’s whole self. IntraSpectrum Counseling offers a range of therapeutic services for Chicago’s LGBTQI community, including but not limited to individual gay and lesbian counseling, gender identity counseling, same-sex couples counseling, and group counseling specifically tailored to the unique needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersexed clients.