‘Coming Out for Equality’—the theme for this year’s National Coming Out Day, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—encourages all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to come out of the closet and show their visibility on October 11.
National Coming Out Day was established in 1988 by author Robert Eichberg and lesbian political leader Jean O’Leary. Its date, October 11, was chosen to coincide with the first anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights.
Besides traditional rallies and workshops celebrating the day, social networking sites were blanketed with posts offering support to people just coming out of the closet. HRC’s ‘Coming Out for Equality’ Facebook app encouraged the LGBT community and its supporters to donate their Facebook status to the cause.
The L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center also contributed to the movement through its grassroots social media campaign #CountMeOut. The effort prompts Twitter users to send Tweets with the hashtags #OUT and #CountMeOut, and indicate they are out of the closet by updating their Facebook profile pictures.
”With each passing year National Coming Out Day takes on increased importance,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “As we celebrate major victories like marriage equality in New York and the repeal of the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, it is important to remember that the more we as LGBT people tell our stories and engage others, the more victories we will achieve.”