National Coming Out Day is an annual celebration on 11th October, first commemorated in 1988, a year after the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights and to celebrate members of the LGBTQ+ community who live life openly and who can live their truth.
Coming out is a truly unique experience for anyone within the community and is a deeply personal moment within their lives, often being the first time, an individual can live in their truest identity. National Coming Out Day is a day to celebrate the beauty of ourselves and accept ourselves as who we are and not to directly lead anyone to come out. The day is a way to raise visibility and to further acceptance in our wider world, as sadly stigma lives on towards some members of the LGBTQ+ community.
There are many emotions you might be processing through your own identity exploration and acceptance, feelings of loneliness, isolation, fear, and confusion. Whilst everyone’s experiences are extremely different, know that you’re not alone. Coming out can be a difficult and scary experience but can also be liberating and freeing as you share your authentic self.
The most important element to consider is that your journey and experience are just that…yours. Try not to compare yourself to others and proceed with how it best feels to you. Part of this is learning more about yourself and accepting yourself before sharing with others. Know that you don’t ever have to come out if you don’t want to.
For some, it is confiding in close friends, to help share those feelings and emotions before sharing with others or speaking with a therapist to explore those thoughts in the lead-up to coming out. For many members of the community, coming out is about the right time and place, alongside preparing themselves for the reactions of those they tell.
It’s a truly personal situation to be in, with much to consider. Stonewall offers plenty of advice and support to those wanting to explore coming out, and our trusted team of counsellors at The Wellbeing Therapy Hut are hear to explore those concerns and emotions with you.
However you find yourself on 11th October, be sure to show yourself kindness and celebrate the beautiful person you are.
Author: David, TWTH trainee counsellor, working online and in both Epsom and Kingston.