National Coming Out Day is an annual celebration with a goal of shining light on individuals within the LGBTQ+ community and their decisions to share their gender identities and sexual orientation with the public. This year’s theme: “Born to Shine!”
The observance was founded by Richard Eichberg, a gay rights activist, in 1988 to mark the second anniversary of a march on Oct. 11, 1987 where an estimated 500,000 marched in Washington to for Lesbian and Gay Rights, according to the American Psychological Association.
Additionally, the purpose of National Coming Out Day, which takes place annually on Oct. 11, is not only to celebrate those who have come out, but to support those who choose those still keeping their identity a secret. Even more, it’s also about encouraging someone to come out who's been thinking about it.
As a result, people are sharing their coming out stories and journeys of transitioning across social media. From actors, musicians and athletes to everyday Americans, everybody is generating awareness and pushing for a movement for equality.
Not only are those sharing their experiences praising the holiday but also supporting those who may still not be ready to come out.
To help ring in this year’s holiday, the President released a statement, highlighting the strides made over the years and continuing the fight for equality:
My Administration is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people can live openly, proudly, and freely in every corner of our nation. Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done.
Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. From acting on Day One to prevent and combat discrimination to enabling all qualified Americans – including transgender Americans – to serve their country in uniform, to defending the human rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world, my administration has been clear that we will continue to champion the dignity, equality, and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community.
From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.
To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you. My Administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect you deserve.”