Heyyyyyyy! It’s National Coming Out Day

By Brian Oaster

It’s Hashtag-national-coming-out-day Day, and social media is gushing with personal coming out stories, cute graphics, queer GIFs, welcome messages, and people asking for support as they gear up for a big reveal to their friends and family.

National Coming Out Day, or NCOD for those of us who depend upon ungainly acronyms, was first celebrated on October 11th, 1988. The day marked the first anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington For Lesbian and Gay Rights.

This year, people are coming out of the woodwork to show their support. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that the Empire State “will always stand with the LGBTQ+ community, because we know that diversity is our strength.”

State Attorney General Barbara Underwood backed him up, and California’s Mark Takano, the first openly gay Congressperson of color, Tweeted “when—and if—you decide to come out, know that a loving community stands with you.”

Ellen kept it simple, with “Happy #NationalComingOutDay! Anybody?”

Billboard Magazine didn’t directly state that queers have always owned the top tier of the musical world, but they did repost a feature they ran on “LGBTQ Stars Who Have Come Out in 2018 So Far”, which includes Jason Mraz but not his unfortunate SNAFU misusing the term “two spirit”.

Predictably, there’s also been a dollup of unimaginative anti-LGBTQ backlash endorsing something called “straight pride” (who needs to be proud of that???), with some hateful hate mongers shouting out cisheteronormative monogomy in ambiguously biblical-sounding terms, and other vanilla missionaries showing support for ‘alpha males’ (BARF EMOJI) and the women who love them (DOUBLE BARF EMOJI WITH A LAUGH CRY). But those icky messages will not find amplification here! You can go cringe at them on your own time.

Nice as it is to be here and queer, loud and proud, some Twitterlings were quick to remind us not to fixate on coming out, to “never put yourself in a situation where you‘re unsafe because you think you NEED to come out.” They issue the important remindfulness that “coming out is NOT the goal… accepting & loving yourself is.”

For more on the importance and validity of the closet, here’s an encouraging letter from The Advocate.

In addition to the above safety concerns for those who live in hostile territory, it’s also important to remember that it’s okay to be selective about coming out just because you feel like it. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about who you are. Maybe those homophobes in your life don’t deserve to know the real you. Who needs em? There’s a space between ‘out’ and ‘the closet’ called ‘IDGAF BYEEE’.

All that said, to everyone coming out to themselves, to others, today, tomorrow, this year or next: welcome to the family!

Brian Oaster

Brian is a Choctaw writer in the Pacific Northwest.