National Coming Out Day is an annual LGBT2SQ+ awareness day observed on October 11th. This year marks the 29th anniversary of National Coming Out Day.
Coming out is the process that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two spirit, queer, and other sexual and gender diverse people (LGBT2SQ+) go through to share their identity with others. This isn’t something that happens one time. It is a choice every time a new person enters their lives or they enter a new social situation.
It is a process that heterosexual and cisgender people will not experience. If you are cisgender (your gender identity matches the one you were given at birth) or straight, those identities are assumed.In other words, these identities are ‘normal’ and are given a higher status in society. These beliefs and assumptions of normality are called heterosexism and cissexism.
These -isms create stress and negative life experiences for many people in the LGBT2SQ+ community. The choice to come out can be a hard one when facing potential broken relationships, loss of housing, or potential violence. This is why coming out is a personal choice that each person needs to make for themselves. For each person and each situation it will be different.
There are positives of coming out. While being straight and cisgender may be common, that doesn’t make them the ‘normal’ or ‘right’ way to be. Sexual and gender identities are a part of everyone. This experience we all share makes us whole human beings. So coming out and being able to express yourself can relieve stress, improve self esteem and lift a weight off the back of someone who has felt the need to keep their identity as secret. We all want others to see us for what we are and those parts of ourselves we are proud of.
The idea of Coming Out Day was that we all benefit as a society. When we find out that we have siblings, doctors, teachers, librarians, parents and others close to us that are in the LGBT2SQ+ community we will let go of those ideas of normal. A new normal emerges and we celebrate each other for who we are. Who knows, maybe one day we will stop making assumptions and coming out will mean something completely different.
If you are considering coming out or know someone who needs support through the process, please contact SERC’s LGBT2SQ+ program at 204-727-0417.
For more information about what we do, visit our website at serc.mb.ca. Also, sign up for our E-News by following the links on our website or like us on Facebook.
This information was provided by the Sexuality Education Resource Centre.