Be Proud of Who You Are on National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day (NCOD).  NCOD was inaugurated in 1988 by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary to encourage LGBTQ people to come out and live authentically,  They knew that in order to change societal views and anti-LGBT laws that it was imperative that LGBTQ people be visible and share our personal stories.

Today is National Coming Out Day [Opinion]

Geoff Kors

In a year filled with hardship and pain, there was a very inspiring event that demonstrated the power of coming out.  I vividly remember the day that Pete Buttigieg was announced as the winner of the Iowa Democratic Caucus, with Bernie Sanders a fraction of a percent behind in second place.  I imagined how the results of the Caucus would have impacted my 16-year-old self.  As a teenage boy, I could not begin to imagine a gay or a Jewish person being elected as the President of our country, or a gay person being elected to any office. There were no positive images, there were no role models, especially for LGBT people.

Although neither of them became the Democratic Party Presidential nominee, having Mayor Pete and Senator Sanders, both members of minority groups, do so well in Iowa and other states gave us a reason to celebrate.

As much as it meant for me as an adult, I am most grateful for the impact this will have for young people, especially those in the parts of our country where discrimination and bullying are part of their daily lives.  As politically involved as I was as a teenager, I did not run for elected political office until I was in my 50’s — if I had been given hope and seen different possibilities growing up then maybe I would have made different choices. We should never take our newly secured rights for granted — and we must continue to be visible and share our stories.


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