October 11th has been recognized as National Coming Out Day since 1988 in the United States. Now — 30 years later — other countries, including Canada, have started to celebrate this day as a way to bring awareness to this sometimes scary, stressful, but important time for LGBTQ people.
The term is short for coming out of the closet because often times people who are LGBTQ feel like they are hiding who they truly are. Coming out is when a person acknowledges their identity (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender or queer) by sharing it with the people they trust and care about.
There are lots of reasons why coming out is important both for those coming out and those who are learning of a loved one’s identity.
Hiding who you truly are can feel like carrying a heavy weight around. Coming out is a way to release that heavy burden. And because there are still people who don't like or accept people who identify as LGBTQ, it takes courage and strength to say, “this is who I am, and I am proud to be me!”
Coming out is equally important for friends and family who are learning of their loved one’s identity so they can be there for support.