National Coming Out Day: 2020

Get ready to celebrate!  October 11, 2020, is National Coming Out Day! Mark your calendars, save the date, and take some time to appreciate this important day for the LBGTQ community.

How It Began

On October 11, 1987 well over 200,000 people marched and rallied in Washington, DC, advocating for LGBTQ rights and a better response to the AIDS epidemic.  This event also included the widely publicized display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on the National Mall.  This was, to date, the largest demonstration for the LGBTQ community in the United States. In addition to mobilizing so many people, it also attracted significant media attention, raising visibility for incredibly important issues.

Marking The Day

Together, Robert Eichsberg (a psychologist who eventually died from AIDS) and Jean O’Leary (a lesbian and gay rights activist) founded National Coming Out Day, one year after the historic march.  The goal of the day is to recognize that we all know and love members of the LGBTQ community. They are individuals contributing to all of our lives and deserve our respect. Each year since the day has been observed across the country.

How We Celebrate

Over time, recognitions and celebrations of National Coming Out Day have become as diverse as our community.  Themes including “Come Out To Congress” and “Coming Out Still Matters” are only two of the many developed.

October 11, 2020, marks the 32nd anniversary of this historic day. It is just as important to recognize it this year as we have in the past. According to The Human Right’s CampaignOne out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian. For transgender people, that number is only one in 10.” It is critical that we continue to raise awareness, educate people, and encourage acceptance. 

Become Involved

Take this opportunity to actively support the community, your friends, and those you love. Help put an end to discrimination and homophobia by educating those you know.  

Check your local area for scheduled events; cities and towns across the country often sponsor activities.  The Tampa Bay Times shared that the city of St. Petersburg is celebrating with Drag Queen Bingo, a festival, and a “Cruise” ( a parade of vehicles along a predetermined route) -- a great socially distant and safe way to celebrate and raise awareness.  The Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is honoring the day in a COVID-safe manner with a virtual celebration.

If you are looking for ways to recognize this important day personally, there are a number of things you can do. First, consider donating to an LGBTQ organization.  These groups offer support and fight for equality and justice on behalf of our entire community.

Be visible. October 11th is the PERFECT day to show your pride by donning rainbow clothing and accessories, buttons, and more.  Consider flying a flag outside your home, or add a magnet to your car’s bumper.  Want to involve others? Take a note from St. Pete and host your own “drive-by” parade!

Be a friend to someone you know is thinking about coming out or has recently come out.  This step is often considerably emotional. The extra support that you can provide is invaluable.

And finally, be knowledgeable.  Take some time to understand the issues facing the community and research ways in which can affect positive change.

October 11, 2020, is a meaningful and important day for the LGBTQ community. At Rainbow Depot, we encourage you to acknowledge this day, support your friends and family and celebrate your community.