Coming out is known as the process by which someone accepts and identifies with their sexual orientation; and shares there identity willingly with others. Sometimes we think about coming out as a single moment, but we fail to think about how for some people, it’s a series of decisions because they might not be out in some groups; i.e. religious, family, friends, co-workers etc.
October 11th is known as National Coming Out Day (NCOD) which was created to promote a safe world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly. It was established on October 11th in honor of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights where half a million people marched. Since then, on or near every October 11, thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and allies celebrate NCOD; with workshops, speak-outs, rallies and other kinds of events all aimed at showing the public that LGBT people are everywhere.
The creator of National Coming Out Day, Robert Eichsberg, was quoted saying, “Most people think they don’t know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.”
With that being said, if someone ever comes out to you, there are a couple of things to keep in mind so that you can remain respectful of the person choosing to trust you with something so important.
- Know this is an act of trust
- Find out how confidential this is so you don’t accidentally out them
- Ask them how you can best support them
- Say something like, “oh I always knew” or downplay the importance of them sharing this with you
- Don’t go bragging about your new “gay” friend
- Ask probing questions or cross any personal boundaries
- Forget who they were before they came out to you
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