Since 1987 the 11th day in October has been celebrated as a time for people to acknowledge, with pride, who they are.
- It may mean that you avow publicly that you love someone of the same sex.
- It may mean you don’t now or never had a partner, but you know who you are.
- It might be telling other people directly that you’re an ally for the LGBT rights movement, even when it might not seem safe to do so.
It’s about breaking apart a system where everyone is presumed to be straight (or presumed to be gay if they act or look specific ways). It’s about making it easier for the kids who come after us to be who they are without undue drama.
Thanks to the valiant efforts of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, pansexual (and everyone else) folks who stood up, faced genuine danger in the face and said, “this is who I am and I deserve the same rights and dignity as every other person,” it is now infinitely easier to come out today. A few decades ago, being gay could ruin a person’s career and private life. There were threats and actions of physical violence. Today there is obviously still much room for improvement, but major political parties and the President of the United States finally acknowledge the humanity and rights of LGBT people. What a difference a few years can make!
How do we take those last steps to making sure equal rights are granted to all, regardless of sexual orientation? It all starts with coming out. The biggest predictor of someone’s acceptance of LGBT rights is whether or not they know someone who is LGBT. So if you are ready to join, come out, come out wherever you are. And if you’re an ally, come out about that!