Lifestyle & Belief

National Coming Out Day celebrated in the U.S.


People dance and cheer during the annual Gay Pride Parade in Montevideo, Uruguay, on September 30, 2011.


Pablo Porciuncula

Today is National Coming Out Day, and many are using this time of celebration to raise awareness about LGBT issues and look back on moments of progress this year.

The LGBT community has a lot to celebrate this year, according to the Washington Post. Last month saw the repeal of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the military, letting gays now serve openly in all five branches.

New York also legalized same-sex marriage in June, becoming the sixth and largest state to permit it, according to The New York Times. The other five states are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.

Pop singer Ke$ha even joined the party, partnering with the LGBT rights group Human Rights Campaign to celebrate the day, MTV reported.

According to International Business Times, HRC President Joe Solmonese said, “It is important to remember that the more we as LGBT people tell our stories and engage others, the more victories we will achieve.”

But today is also a time to reflect on the struggles LGBT youth face and spread awareness.

CBS News reported that many LGBT teenagers still feel threatened by their peers in school.

In 2009 CDC survey, 80 percent of LGBT students between 13 and 21 had been verbally harassed. Around 40 percent of the 7,000 surveyed had been physically assaulted.

According to Washington Post, National Coming Out Day can be tracked back to the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights held in 1987.

The Washington Post reported:

The rally was called on Oct. 11, 1987, in response to the lack of government attention to the spreading AIDS crisis, and to the 1986 Supreme Court ruling Bowers v. Hardwick that upheld the criminalization of sodomy between two consenting men.

The day was named National Coming Out Day in 1998 to commemorate the march and give the LGBT community a time to come together each year.

And no day of celebration would be complete with social media buzz. The Huffington Post reported many are sharing their thoughts on Twitter by using the hashtag #CountMeOut.