On Oct. 11, 1987, half a million people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. To this day National Coming Out Day continues to promote a safe world for LGBT individuals to live truthfully and openly. (Human Rights Campaign)
I love that we are able to have a national awareness day for the LGBTQ community because it promotes acceptance within our “traditional” society. As an ally to the LGBTQ community, I often analyze what American culture does to maintain it’s traditional policies (such as marriage, repro-rights, etc.), and sometimes the government surprises me. This was a great year for the LGBTQ community because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Marriage Equality in my great state of New York, yet, the fight is not over to maintain equality within the LGBTQ community.
National Coming Out Day gives the LGBTQ community a voice and pride because of who they are. If you follow the #COUNTmeout hashtag on twitter, you can see it in real-time.
Here’s my issue with Coming Out Day: our society has a systemic view on sexuality. Being straight is viewed as the norm and if you’re not a part of that, you have to “Come out of the closet”. Have you ever come out as being straight? American society, probably even all over the world as well, reinforces this norm of heteronormativity in EVERYTHING we do, whether it is through popular culture, school, religion, etc.So maybe it’s not the issue of Coming Out Day that bothers me, but the systemic issue that made Coming Out Day possible.
Does that mean I deny the power of National Coming Out Day? Hell no, but why just one day? I love giving the LGBTQ community a voice in a society that views straightness as traditional. Try coming out to your friends and family as straight. What do you think will happen? The anxiety and fear of coming out will not be the same, but we will never begin to know or understand how it feels.
Just some food for thought.
Happy National Coming Out Day everyone!