Every day, Pride Foundation is reminded of why National Coming Out Day exists, and why everywhere—especially in our region—this day is so important.
We all know that it is hard to live genuinely, honestly when you are not protected or not seen as fully equal. It takes courage to live openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person and to publicly come out as an ally in support of the LGBTQ community.
Coming out is a deeply personal and profound experience. Sometimes steeped in fear and loss, sometimes abundant with cheers and acceptance. A combination of emotions more great than there are words for. We honor the bravery that it takes that first time and the countless moments, big and small, when coming out, again and again.
Yet, every time you come out as your true self it is a chance to stand up for what you believe.
The choice to share who you are and who you love is also transformational, in countless ways. Sharing your story is a chance to change hearts and minds. We have seen what a difference it can make for our friends, family, neighbors, co-workers.
Twenty-six years ago, 500,000 people gathered for the March on Washington in support of gay and lesbian rights. That moment was the inspiration for National Coming Out Day, which was first celebrated in 1988. Since then, we have witnessed great change and made huge strides towards full equality for LGTBQ people everywhere.
Pride Foundation is grateful to have been a part of this historic journey. And we are excited to continue on this path with you to ensure that every person and every family can be who they are, where they are, and be recognized and celebrated for it.
So today is a day to be true to yourself. Come out as a champion for equality. Come out as an advocate for LGBTQ people.
We thank each of you for the sincerity with which you live your lives and stand up for your values. We have come this far through our collective bravery and the future is bright because of your courage.
Kris Hermanns is Pride Foundation’s Executive Director. Email Kris.