National Coming Out Day Turns 25

The first National Coming Out Day came one year after the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.  Organizers wanted to build on the momentum from that 1987 protest.

"One of the ideas they came up with was that we weren't going to gain any kind of equality or acceptance if we weren't visible — if we stayed in the closet."

Candace Gingrich is with the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for LGBT rights.  She says coming out is easier now than 25 years ago. 

"We see more laws in place that protect people based on their orientation or gender identity.  We see public figures who have come out.  We can turn on the television and see openly LGBT characters that kind of reflect ourselves back."

But Gingrich says while coming out is easier, it isn't exactly easy. 

"There are still folks who fear gay people, mostly because they don't understand them or they think there's something they need to fear.  Also, young people still risk losing their family's support.  There are still young queer people who are kicked out of their homes, who are shunned, who are basically cut off when they come out."

Gingrich says the process of coming out could be helped if more doctors and counselors were trained to deal with the specific physical and mental health issues LGBT youth face.

Tags: News, LGBT


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