Every year on October 11th, we celebrate our community with National Coming Out Day. Why this date? Well, back in 1987 on October 11, half a million people participated in a March on Washington D.C. for LGBTQ rights. It was only the second demonstration in our nation’s capital for these causes and the result was dozens, if not hundreds, of LGBTQ organizations popping up throughout the US. Momentum that came from this collective activist movement continued for months. The recognition that oftentimes conversations around LGBTQ rights led to queer and trans folks having the defend themselves, the community decided to name this day as a national celebration of coming out.
This day still matters to our community. It can be hard to take that first step in coming out. We want you to know that you should only come out when and if you feel you are ready and safe. You do not need to be out for your identity to be valid. There are resources out there to help you in the process: you are not alone. I know that when I had the privilege of coming out, it took years to come out fully to everyone I know. At first, I told my closest friends and my sister. Then I told my parents. Finally, I came out to everyone else via a Facebook post on National Coming Out Day! So, be easy with yourself, you are growing and moving throughout this world. There is no need to rush your process.
Our stories of coming out are important to share as they can inspire and empower each other to keep going. The LGBTQ community still suffers from depression and suicide at higher rates than heterosexual and cis-gender people, especially our youth. The rate of suicide attempts is four times greater for LGBQ youth than straight teens. Nearly half of young transgender people have considered taking their lives, a quarter report having made a suicide attempt at some point. If you or someone you know is in need of support, you can reach out to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis interention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people ages 13-24.
Oftentimes when LGBTQ people come out, they find a whole other family in the process. A beautiful, diverse, creative and warm-hearted queer community. If you need a little help in finding your community, check out CenterLink, where they have listed 182 LGBTQ Community Centers around the world.
This year, October 11 also happens to be Yom Kippus for Jewish folks and Ashura for those who are Muslim. We would like to extend support and love to our queer and trans community members who celebrate these religious holidays. The intersection of religion in queer and trans identities can often be complicated. These religious holidays nourish our spiritual lives and connection to our past and God/Allah, can also be difficult for LGBTQ people as religious books often denounce queer identities. However, the beautiful thing about being LGBTQ is that we are a diverse people. You are not alone and there are resources if you are queer and Jewish or queer and Muslim.
Overall, National Coming Out Day is meant to be a celebration of our lives, our stories, our beauty and our continued fight for rights. Join the GO Mag team in celebrating today by putting your headphones on and jamming out to some of our favorite queer, out and proud artists with this playlist.