Started in 1988 by Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary in celebration of the second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on Oct. 11, 1987. In the 1980s, when many people did not know any openly LGBT2Q+ people, ignorance and silence allowed homophobia to persist. Coming out was a form of activism and it was believed that when people realized they knew someone who was LGBT2Q+, they would be far more likely to support equality under the law.
Each year on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day continues to promote a safe world for LGBT2Q+ individuals to live openly.
It should be noted that modern LGBT2Q+ activists believe that the idea of “coming out” reinforces a view that heterosexuality is the norm. “Coming out” implicitly announces — to LGBTQ individuals, allies and enemies — that queer people are aberrant. There has additionally been growing acknowledgement that for many members of our Queer community, this places undue pressure on folks who are not in a safe country or circumstances to ‘come out’.