by Jayci Bash
Originally published in Revolt — Vol. 1, Issue 2
In a world full of chaos, violence, division and anger, one is often hard-pressed to find anything good to celebrate. Even the smallest of victories are extinguished quicker than they can ignite any spark of joy. No one is immune to the seemingly endless supply of negativity.
And, at the same time, this world is a complex, amazing place full of beautiful, resilient and enduring people — people who wake up every morning and decide over and over again to keep going, to keep fighting, to keep celebrating and to keep loving.
You are one of these people and it is my pleasure to tell you why I believe National Coming Out Day, October 11, is so powerful, especially in the context of 2017.
National Coming Out Day began in 1988 as a way to celebrate members of the LGBTQ — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer — community. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “National Coming Out Day continues to promote a safe world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly.”
The term “coming out” refers to a member of the LGBTQ community disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to the people in their life. This can often be a significant source of anxiety and fear, and like most complex moments in life, it can also be an incredibly empowering and positive experience.
As an ally to the LGBTQ community, I have stood alongside many individuals as they worked through the process of coming out to their loved ones. The responses by friends and family are incredibly diverse. Some folks are completely rejected while others are received with love and acceptance. The difference between these two responses can mean all the difference in the world.
We have the power to create a world that is worth leaving to our grandchildren — a compassionate world full of inclusion and diversity.
Coming out is a lifelong process. Every new relationship, regardless of it being a friend, colleague, neighbor or teacher, requires consideration of whether or not it is safe to disclose one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Having the ability to live an authentic life, a life that is in harmony with your truth, is paramount to living a happy and fulfilled life. Being accepted for who you are, exactly as you are, is one of the most empowering experiences you can have.
When we, as a community, create safe and welcoming spaces for those who are different than us, we make a clear statement to the world that kindness, inclusion and respect are valued above all things.
National Coming Out Day is for everyone. On this day, we proclaim our ability to celebrate not only our beautiful diversity, but also our ability to look beyond differences and see the inherent good that each human on this planet has.
Every single one of us has a purpose and a place in this world. When we witness members of the LGBTQ community asserting their right to an honest and open life, we move one step closer to creating a world with less chaos, less violence, less division and less anger. We have the power to create a world that is worth leaving to our grandchildren — a compassionate world full of inclusion and diversity.
Please join us during National Coming Out Day in celebrating our LGBTQ community.