“Coming Out” vs. “Inviting In”
“Coming Out” has been the common term for someone who acknowledges being LGBTQ+ and it is used throughout our resources. However, it is important to note that this language centers the persons we are coming out to rather than us. It gives the impression that people who don’t identify as cisgender or heterosexual are hiding something from society, rather than acknowledging how homophobia and transphobia create an unwelcoming environment. When publicly identifying as LGBTQ+, you are inviting people into a part of your life that should be protected and celebrated. You are not asking for permission to be you. You control the narrative, as well as who and what you allow into your life.
Remember, you are not alone. No matter where you are in your journey, we wish you a full, rich, authentic life — a life free from bias, discrimination and hate — and we are working hard every single day to make sure that is a reality for you and for everyone. We are gonna build a world where every LGBTQ+ person can be healthy, safe, liberated, celebrated and joyful in every area of our lives - without exception. Let’s do it together.
The first National Coming Out Day, organized by Jean O’Leary and Dr. Robert Eichberg with the National Coming Out Day organization, was observed on October 11, 1988, the first anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. In 1993, the National Coming Out Day organization merged with us, formally known as the Human Rights Campaign Fund. We created the National Coming Out Project in 1996, which is part of our ongoing work that goes beyond the activities on October 11 to provide resource guides and information to people who are coming out or those interested in understanding the journey. During the first few years of the project, Artist Keith Haring contributed his 1988 famous image of a person stepping out of the closet to our project and it continues to be a staple in supporting our work providing resources to the LGBTQ+ community.Our History with NCOD from Cornell University!
Celebrate all who have come out as LGBTQ+ with our exclusive Keith Haring T-Shirt. Haring was an American pop artist/activist and part of the legendary NYC art scene in the 1980s and he contributed this artwork to us in 1993.