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National Coming Out Day

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Out at a Gay Pride Parade

Out at a Gay Pride Parade

Image (c) Philppe Leroyer

History:

According to About's guide to gay life,

"National Coming Out Day was founded by Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary on October 11, 1988 in celebration of the first gay march on Washington D.C. a year earlier. The purpose of the march and of National Coming Out Day is to promote government and public awareness of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender rights and to celebrate homosexuality."

How Do I Know If I Should Come Out?:

Coming out, or openly declaring that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) is a big step for a teen and no one should feel pressured to come out before being ready.

Even if you feel ready, it is wise to ask yourself some questions:

  • Will coming out jeopardize my situation at home?
  • Is it safe, physically and emotionally, for me to come out to my parents?
  • Do I have resources available (both emotional and financial) if coming out changes my situation at home?

Good Reasons for Coming Out:

  • You feel confident in your sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • You feel like you have the support of family and / or friends.
  • You are confident that coming out will help you grow and make you feel better about yourself as a person.
  • You feel like the positives outweigh the negatives, and that you can handle possible negative reactions from friends and family.

Not So Good Reasons for Coming Out:

  • A friend or partner is pressuring you to come out.
  • You feel like you are lying to people if you don't.
  • You feel like coming out will make you feel legitimately GLBT.
  • You think coming out will make you feel more grown-up.
  • You're mad at your parents and want to upset them.

If you think your reasons are good ones, you might decide that you are ready to come out. If not, it might seem like a better idea to hold off. Whatever you decide, make sure you have support. Teens coming out tend to have better experiences if they have someone they can rely on for help and understanding.

Why Bother Coming Out?:

Coming out can be good for society because exposes the larger population to the gay community and helps normalize gay life and fight homophobia.

It can also be good for an individual who no longer has to hide this important aspect of who he or she is.

Where Can I Find Out More:

National Coming Out Day is managed by the Human Rights Council. You can find out about upcoming events on their website.

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