The LGBT Health & Development Program

National Coming Out Day: October 11th!


Posted on October 10th, 2013 by IMPACT in Coming Out, Featured, Video, Youth Blog. No Comments


In 1987, half a million people gathered for the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Every year on October 11th, we celebrate the anniversary of that demonstration with National Coming Out Day [1]. This year, some friends of IMPACT shared their thoughts on coming out. Watch the video to hear about their experiences!

Coming out is a personal and individual decision. People feel ready to come out at different points in their lives, for different reasons, to different people, and in different ways. Bored with the coming out conversation? Try baking a coming out cake, making a pop-up card, or wearing the news on a t-shirt, then write a story about how it went! These days, coming out can even turn into a viral video.

In fact, the internet is changing the way that LGBT people come out. Last year on National Coming Out Day, a young woman made headlines by coming out to her mom on Facebook. About three-quarters of LGBT youth say they’re more honest about themselves online than they are in other parts of their lives [2]. The internet can be an important place for isolated LGBT youth to find community and seek support, which is why activists are working to increase internet access for people in poor and rural areas [3].

Regardless of how they do it, LGBT youth are more out than ever. Nine out of ten LGBT youth say they’re out to their close friends, while a little more than half (64%) are out to classmates [2].  People are also coming out at an earlier age. In 1991, the average age for coming out was 25; today, it’s 16 [4]. Because LGBT youth are coming out earlier, they are also more likely to still be living with their parents when they come out to them.  While family acceptance can have a positive impact on LGBT youths’ self-confidence, lack of family support can also put LGBT youth at risk for mental distress and depression [4]. We’ve covered this story in the past on our research blog.

If you’ve decided you are ready to come out but are not sure how to do it, there are tons of resources online, including a new Transgender Visibility Guide for people who are coming out as trans. If you’re worried that your parents won’t be supportive, know that other people have been in similar situations and might be able to provide some advice. There are also organizations out there to provide support and education for the families of LGBT youth, such as PFLAG.  If you’re having a tough time, remember that there are resources out there like The Trevor Project, which has a hotline you can call 24/7! They’re always available at 1-866-488-7386.

Whether you’re out, thinking about coming out, or comfortable in the closet for now, we hope you have a great National Coming Out Day this year (and get to eat some cake)!

This video was filmed at Pridefest and Dyke March 2013 and edited by April Wilson, IMPACT intern. The article was written by Liz McConnell, IMPACT intern.

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References:

[1] Human Rights Campaign. (2013). The history of coming out: In the beginning, there was a march. Retrieved from: http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/the-history-of-coming-out.

[2] Human Rights Campaign. (2013). Growing up LGBT in America: View statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.hrc.org/youth/view-statistics#.Ui4XPNJebTo.

[3] Crawford, M. (2013, September 9). Coming out then and now: The impact of technology. HuffPost Gay Vocies. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-crawford/coming-out-then-and-now-the-impact-of-technology_b_3881780.html.

[4] American Friends of Tel Aviv University (2011, October 11). Age of ‘coming out’ is now dramatically younger: Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens find wider family support, says researcher. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2011/10/111011112759.htm.





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