Today is National Coming Out Day – meant to be a reminder of the power of coming out. Although it’s a U.S. anniversary (of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights 25 years ago), we can certainly celebrate it here in Canada.
Why is coming out so powerful? When people don’t personally know anyone who fits the stereotype, it’s easy for them to ignore others or lump them into categories. But as an acquaintance said recently after reading my son’s powerful post about growing up a gay sports fan:
“When it involves someone you know and like, it causes you to be a lot more open-minded and accepting to things that are normally foreign.”
Changing minds one at a time is a slow process, but it’s having an effect. In March, the Pew Research Center for the People and Press reported that:
“[T]he rise in support for marriage equality over the past 10 years was among the largest changes in opinion on any policy issue over this time period.”
Of those who said they changed their mind on the issue, 37 percent said the reason was they have gay friends or family.
So coming out is important, and that’s why the theme of National Coming Out Day this year is “Come out. It still matters.”
Getting off my soapbox now.