Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day!

Did you know that October 11 is National Coming Out Day?

One of the most important things we can do is come out of the closet because it challenges the secrecy, silence, and shame that affects and limits so many people’s sex lives. Of course, Coming Out Day has primarily been about LGBT visibility and awareness, so if you’re heterosexual, you might think that the day isn’t relevant to you. But there are ways that straight people can support their friends, family members, and loved ones on Coming Out Day, too. Something as simple as mentioning it in a conversation, or talking about your lesbian sister, or your trans* friend can show that you’re a safe person for someone to come out to. It also makes sure that gender and sexual minorities aren’t invisible, and that you’re an ally who will stand up for them. You might not realize how powerful that is, but it can change lives.

If you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans*, genderqueer, or any other gender or sexual minority, Coming Out Day can be an important occasion. Even if you live out of the closet, you can be pretty sure that there will be people who won’t see you as anything but straight or cisgender, simply because that’s the default in our society. Your coming out breaks a path for someone who might not be as fortunate as you.

[pullquote]“Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”
[/pullquote]And for the folks who aren’t able to live your lives openly, for any of a number of reasons, coming out is part of how you can start to change things. You don’t have to do it all at once. Find one person you can tell. Post something anonymously online. Write it down on a piece of paper. Go to the beach and write it in the sand. Say it out loud when you’re by yourself. Even if nobody hears it but y0u, it’s still important. Each time you say the words, you slow down the hamster wheel of fear and shame, until you can step off. (hat tip to Pema Chödrön for the metaphor.)

So whether you feel the need to come out for yourself or you want to be a strong ally for the people in your life, take tomorrow as an opportunity to kick the closet door open!

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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