National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is Tuesday, Oct. 11, this year. It is a day to raise awareness that homophobia thrives in silence. Now, I’m not pressuring anyone to come out (this phrase derives from “coming out of the closet”) before they are comfortable or ready. However, letting people in your life know that someone they love, value and cherish, is in the LGBTQ+ community can bring on new champions of the community or even, who knows, open eyes and change minds about people within the LGBTQ+ community. But do what you think feels comfortable and safe, and move at your own pace. These things take time. Be gentle with yourself.
The origination of this day dates to the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on Oct. 11, 1987. Over 200,000 people gathered outside of Washington, D.C., starting an annual tradition of generating awareness about LGBTQ+ rights.
So, what can you do? Whether you are part of the community or an ally, here are some things you can do:
Support someone coming out
Coming out can be difficult. Many of us are constantly coming out, whether to a new friend, to a colleague, at a party, on the street – we are always reliving that experience of coming out. But for someone who may be coming out for the first time, it can be really hard and stressful. Be supportive, lend an ear, be an ally. Share your story, let them know that you will be around to support them when they decide to come out.
Coming out resources
Donate to a LGBTQ+ organization
LGBTQ+ causes always need funding, especially those within black and brown transgender communities. There are several communities in Atlanta you can donate to right now. I have listed a few below:
“Southern Fried Queer Pride (SFQP) is an Atlanta-based (on Muscogee & Cherokee land) organization empowering Black queer and QTPOC centered communities in the South through the arts. Hosting several unmissable event elevating these voices on an epic scale throughout the year.”
“SONG is a home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South. We build, sustain, and connect a southern regional base of LGBTQ people in order to transform the region through strategic projects and campaigns developed in response to the current conditions in our communities. SONG builds this movement through leadership development, intersectional analysis, and organizing.”
“PFLAG Atlanta promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, their families, and friends through support, education, and advocacy.”
“To end homelessness for all LGBTQ+ youth by providing them with the skills and support needed to live independently.”
How to Celebrate
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announces a theme every year to coincide with the day. This year’s theme is “Born to Shine.“ You don’t have to purchase a shirt or do anything fancy. Just be yourself and surround yourself with people or fur babies who love you. Because it is a day about you, us, and a community that through all the darkness that is in this world, we are born to shine.
–Dhy Edwardsberry, business librarian, Goizueta Business Library, and co-chair of the Black Library Professional Group at Emory Libraries