Thursday, September 18, 2008

Coming Out Day is coming up

NCOD 2008 (Black) by Jamie A. McCanless NCOD 2008 (Black) by Jamie McCanless at Loxly Gallery NCOD 2008 (White) by Jamie A. McCanless NCOD 2008 (White) by Jamie McCanless at Loxly Gallery

I introduced my dreamy coming out design, NCOD 2007, for National Coming Out Day last year. (I really did design it in my sleep.)

Now I've made the date 2008 and added all of my coming out designs to the JamieCo Design gallery at Zazzle. (Check out the NCOD 2008 square buttons and magnets!)

My latest news, though, is that two poster versions of NCOD 2008 mark the debut of my designs at Loxly Gallery. I'll be putting more of my work up there soon!

I believe every National Coming Out Day is a crucial opportunity to show support, take stock, and improve awareness and visibility. Still, I've been "out" for decades and, living where I do, orientation is typically a non­issue in my daily life. So, last night I asked some of our family for their thoughts about National Coming Out Day.

• N, 14, says that after coming out, he feels better knowing who he is because he wants to be his honest self. NCOD reminds people, both LGBT and straight, that resources and support are available, that they're not alone in struggling with coming out. Not everyone has Internet access to Google "coming out" (he didn't).

• PPK, 10, thinks he isn't straight. "I love it! It's fabulous!" It's an opportunity to find a new group of people and say "This is me and I'm fabulous… at least this once a year, if not more often. His Pride chant is "We're gay. Okay, get over it!"

• W, 10, thinks he's not gay. It's a good thing because everybody needs to be reminded that everybody is here for a reason, and whoever you are, it's okay.

• KG, 38, my partner, came out without support, without knowing about LGBT resources. "It's sadly necessary because we're not to the point where it's just okay to be who we are, and it's helpful (for all of N's reasons above).

National Coming Out Day is October 11. On that date in 1987, the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights drew hundreds of thousands of people. As a result, a national celebration of coming out was established on the anniversary of the march. Today, the Human Rights Campaign promotes honesty and openness about being gay, lesbian, bi, or trans in its National Coming Out Project, culminating every October 11 in National Coming Out Day. We are far closer to equality than the half million marchers were then. Our visibility is a big part of that change.

Whether coming out to yourself or to others as gay, queer, lesbian, bi, trans, or even as a straight ally, it's a victory worth celebrating and commemorating. Visit hrc.org for information about coming out, including coming out as a straight ally.

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