Keep those Rainbow flags out you unfurled for International Lesbian Day: it’s National Coming Out Day!
Today, we celebrate the process of coming out, in all of its messy, complicated, and glorious forms. While there is no singular way of coming out — it’s a process unique to each of us — today we are each encouraged to embrace and celebrate our queerness, however we wish.
National Coming Out Day was first observed on the one-year anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the first large-scale march on the nation’s capital in demand for LGBTQ+ civil rights. Now in its 33rd year, National Coming Out Day remains a potent reminder that, as queer individuals, “one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out.”
This year’s theme: Born to Shine!
“Coming out” means different things to each of us, whether we pronounce our sexuality and identity to everyone we know, choose to let only a special few in, or express ourselves subtly with a rainbow flag pinned to a lapel. It’s also okay not to come out, too, especially if you’re in a place where it isn’t safe to do so. National Coming Out Day is about expressing who you are, however and to whomever you wish.
Today is also a reminder that we are all part of a long and strong lineage of LGBTQ+ individuals, many of whom risked their jobs, families, and even their lives for the right to live openly and freely as who they are. Even if your own coming out is difficult, daunting, and isolating, know that you aren’t actually alone — there’s a whole community here that has your back!
If you’re already out, continue to shine! If you’re considering coming out, then check out GO’s tips on coming out for queer women. You can also check out the Trevor Project’s guide to coming out for LGBTQ+ youth.
So today, celebrate who you are no matter how you choose to come out. Just remember to shine!