October 11 is National Coming Out Day! This day continues to promote a safer world for 2SLGBTQIA+ people. It can serve as a form of activism by decreasing stigma and advocating for change. It can also serve as a means to celebrate identities publicly.
“Coming out of the closet,” typically shortened to “coming out” is the expression used to describe 2SLGBTQIA+ people’s self-disclosure of their sexual orientation, romantic orientation, and/or their gender identity.
Back in the 1980s, when many people did not know ‘out’ 2SLGBTQIA+ people, ignorance and silence allowed anti-2SLGBTQIA+ sentiments to persist. “Coming out ” was a form of activism, as it was believed that people would be more inclined to support equality once they realized that they actually knew someone who was part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.
Activists now believe that the idea of “coming out” reinforces the view that heterosexuality is the norm (it’s not). Additionally, there has been growing acknowledgement that “coming out” places undue pressure on 2SLGBTQIA+ folks who cannot ‘come out’ safely, or even that “coming out” in general is not always an option for everyone, nor is it an action everybody wants to take.
“Coming out” is not a required process; your identities are valid, always!
This National Coming Out Day, I want to honour those who have come out, those who will come out, and those who cannot or choose not to.
The Trevor Project has ‘The Coming Out Handbook’ to help you explore what coming out means to you with tools and guiding questions, at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/guide/the-coming-out-handbook/
Trans Lifeline has a list of non-binary and trans-specific resources at https://translifeline.org/resource/coming-out/—
Antonietta/ Netta Coccaro (they/them)
PSAC Ontario Council