What is National Coming Out Day?
National Coming Out Day was founded by Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary on October 11, 1988 in celebration of the second gay march in Washington D.C. a year earlier. The purpose of the march and of National Coming Out Day is to promote government and public awareness of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender rights and to celebrate homosexuality.
National Coming Out Day is a time to publicly display gay pride. Many choose this day to come out to their parents, friends, co-workers and themselves.
What does it mean to "come out"?
Coming out is the process of personally accepting your homosexuality and disclosing it to family, co-workers and friends. Coming out is different for every gay or bisexual person. Some experience a lot of pain and anguish while for others acceptance is a joyous time. It's perfectly normal to experience fear, doubt, loneliness, anger and even depression. Try to surround yourself with others that may be going through the same transition or who have already come out. They can be a great support network. If you don't have any gay friends or don't know anyone else coming out, there are discussion forums that have plenty of positive influences.
The day I came out...
... to my mother turned out to be the most terrifying and anti-climatic day of my life. Even though her and I are extremely close, I'd played the dramatic scenario of eternal rejection over and over in my head. I just knew once I told her, it was going to be the last conversation her and I would ever have. But it was important for me to share that new and exciting part of my life. I decided the night before Thanksgiving would be the day. I was freshly 18 and figured she wouldn't dare cause a scene on the eve of a large family gathering. In my head it was the biggest gamble I would ever take.
So, while baking a cake (go figure) I concocted this brilliant plan of bringing up very emotional family memories in an effort to soften the blow. I brought up things that made us both cry regularly, usually during an episode of Matlock and the weekly pedicure I gave her. I saw her eyes start to water. Now was my chance. I put the mixing bowl down, washed the mud mask off my face and led into the announcement.
"Mom, if I tell you something will you promise not to reject me?"
"Sure..." she muttered while clicking the remote.
"Are you sure you won't throw me on the street and stop loving me?"
"Uh huh..." She managed to utter while fanning her freshly painted nails.
After a grueling 10 minutes of her obvious lack of interest and my continual tears, I stated my purpose:
"Mom... I'm gay!"
There was silence. My stomach dropped and my heart felt a thousand pounds. She waited until Matlock made his closing argument and looked at me emotionless and said, "Honey, I've known that for years! Now come give your mom a kiss and hand me that nail file over there." Little did I know that her best friend was a lesbian and blew my cover a long time ago. My drama filled announcement was little more than a confirmation of fact.
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