National Coming Out Day

October 11th was National Coming Out Day, an occasion dedicated
to the sharing of stories in the effort to further equality and
acceptance of those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or
transgender (GLBT). Gay rights advocates established the day in
1987 after the

October 11 March On Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights
to
encourage people to fight against the silencing of GLBT issues.

Coming out is about telling stories, and some vocal anti-gay
individuals want to ensure that youth are sheltered from any
knowledge of GLBT identities and that their stories are silenced.
Students of East Bakersfield High School in California discovered
exactly how difficult it is to raise awareness about these issues
this year when the principal prevented the school newspaper from
running a series of articles that featured students’ coming out
stories, reports

Chris Hayhurst in Teenwire
. There has been vocal
opposition against school libraries circulating certain books with
gay themes or homosexual characters. The alternative fairy-tale
King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland won
itself a place on the American Library Association’s list of the
top 10 most-challenged books in 2004 along side two other novels
with gay themes,
Mubarak Dahir writes
in Alternet
. Three states have already made attempts
to establish disincentives for schools and libraries that have
books dealing with GLBT issues or are written by gay and lesbian
authors. And this is only a part of the growing trend to silence
discourse about homosexuality in schools, banning books,
prohibiting gay-straight alliances, and preventing discussion of
homosexuality in sexual education curricula.

As one of the principle aims of National Coming Out Day is to
combat this silencing of GLBT stories, gay rights organizations and
GLBT publications are acknowledging the day by making an effort to
fight this trend. The national gay rights organization The Human
Rights Campaign provides an in-depth

history of National Coming Out Day
on their website. The GLBT
magazine

The Advocate
compiled a set of original coming out stories

written by the publication’s readers that further the day’s mission
to encourage story telling and discussion. Joe Solomonese,
President of the Human Rights Campaign, writes in The
Advocate
about the purpose of the day, reminding readers that
engaging in open dialogue is important because, ‘the biggest
supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights are
those who know GLBT people.’

Go there >>

In The Beginning, There Was a March: 1987

Go there too >>

Under Attack: LGBTQ Students Fight for Their Rights

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