Coming Out Day is celebrated by gays, lesbians, and transgender people on 11 October 2021. On this day, people all over the world are called upon to come out as a gay man or lesbian woman, for example, and thus officially admit their inclination. However, the day is not intended to encourage people to come out of the closet involuntarily. Coming out should be done of one’s own free will. The day is also a good opportunity to consider coming out in the future and to rethink this step.

What’s the story behind it?

The tradition of Coming Out Day goes back to the second national “March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights”: On 11 October 1987, around 500,000 people demonstrated in the US capital Washington D.C. for equal rights for homosexuals. Already on the first officially celebrated Coming Out Day in 1988, thousands of gays and lesbians had their names published in US newspapers. In Switzerland, Coming Out Day has only been celebrated since the mid-1990s.

Why are people struggling about their coming out?

Many people who feel attracted to their own gender come out during their lives. This process comprises two phases: “becoming aware of oneself” and “admitting oneself”. In other words, it is about the realisation that one is attracted to persons of the same sex. The first step is also called coming out to oneself. The second step is the outward contact: coming out to family, friends or colleagues and consciously standing out from the masses of heterosexuals. While coming out, relatives are often made aware that one’s own inclination is not an illness or abnormality – especially if the coming out takes place towards older people who are more conservative.

In some cases, the inner process already takes place in early adolescence or late childhood. Others are only aware of their sexual orientation at a later age. Most people come out at school age, i.e. around the time of puberty. At this age, however, many do not dare to ask for help from others. This is especially the case when they realize that their inclination is not socially accepted. Even their own parents are often not informed about it. Coming out can lead to a life crisis, which can result in suicidal intentions or realized suicide. Counselling centers in the larger cities and information sites on the internet try to help people accept their own homosexuality and deal with it. The suicide rate among pubescent homosexuals is much higher than among heterosexuals of the same age. Coming Out Day is therefore of particular importance in terms of education and social acceptance.

European Liberals for Reform working group LGBTQIA+

In our European Liberals for Reform working group LGBTQIA+ you will find people, who can share with you their experience of their coming out and be supportive. Feel free to join us!

Coming Out Day 2021
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The opinions on this blog are of the authors themselves and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of ELfR.

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