Today is National Coming Out Day, so I was curious to see some information on how many people come out on October 11. I haven’t been able to find anything so far. But regardless of whether or not NCOD inspires people to come out today, it creates a dialogue about being open about who you are in general. It may help people come out at some point or can inspire conversations that lead to understanding and awareness in others.

National Coming Out Day logo
NCOD logo by the late Keith Haring

I want to take a moment to let everyone know that gender identity and sexual orientation are not a factor in my opinion of you. I want my friends to know that they don’t need to censor those parts of their lives when speaking with me. If they want to, that’s fine. But know that being open with me in that regard will not result in judgment or loss of friendship. And if you are not open to everyone and reveal yourself to me in secret, I will not betray your trust.

I believe strongly in not forcibly outing people. I respect that people reveal themselves when they are ready, which is at varying stages in life and different ages. Taking away the chance for someone to do it on their own terms is not something I would ever want to be responsible for. The exception to me would be people like Ted Haggard or others whose lies are harming people and who actively fight to oppress LGBT persons. But I’m not friends with people like that.

Same-sex marriage is becoming legal in an increasing number of states in the US. Sexual orientation and gender identity are being added to anti-discrimination laws in parts of the country. Our nation has a long way to go, but just being out and open has an impact on progress. There are people who stop being transphobic, homophobic, biphobic, etc. when they simply meet someone who is out.

Happy National Coming Out Day!