The Gayest Month
IS IT JUST ME or does it seem like quite the coincidence that National Coming Out Day and Gay Christmas (aka Halloween) are in the same month? Think about it: the day you come out of the closet is like a rebirth of you as the person you are supposed to be, and Gay Christmas is the day you can show the world an often unseen side of yourself.
October 11, 2013, will mark 25 years that we have been celebrating National Coming Out Day (NCOD). NCOD is an international civil awareness day that was started in 1988 by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary to commemorate the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Just two years after the first NCOD, when only 18 states in the United States participated, there was a large media push and all 50 states and seven other countries were observing the day.
Six years later, LGBT History Month was founded by a Missouri high-school history teacher named Rodney Wilson. Wilson chose October for the observation of LGBT history month to coincide with the previously established NCOD.
Before anyone nods off on this snooze fest of a history lesson, let’s get back to what I do best: give my opinion. First of all, I’d like to say thank you to the people who were involved in the planning of the inaugural NCOD and to Rodney Wilson and all of his supporters. With the uptick in violence against the LGBTQ community internationally the anger surrounding marriage equality and every other issue tied to anything other than the heteronormative world, it’s easy to see how important these events still are to our community. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, it was even more difficult for members of the LGBTQ community to be open about their truths. Garnering attention by standing up for themselves and all their queer brothers and sisters to start these now international events was out of the question for most people.
NCOD is our chance to pay it forward. We need to be the Robert Eichbergs and Jean O’Learys who stand up for our closeted cousins, neighbors and co-workers and hold open the door, offering a hand to hold on the way out.
It is our social responsibility, having gone through the process ourselves, to help ease the passage of those who come after us.
This month gives us plenty of opportunity to be who we truly are and celebrate everyone else in our world who may not always have that chance. Encourage closeted friends and loved ones to come out on NCOD, and encourage everyone’s inner rock star to come celebrate Gay Christmas by dressing up as his or her "could be" self.