|National Coming Out Day|
NCOD logo designed by Keith Haring
|Observed by||LGBT community|
|Next time||October 11, 2019|
|Related to||1987 March on Washington|
National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an annual LGBT awareness day observed on October 11.Founded in the United States in 1988, the initial idea was grounded in the feminist and gay liberation spirit of the personal being political, and the emphasis on the most basic form of activism being coming out to family, friends and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. The foundational belief is that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance, and that once people know that they have loved ones who are lesbian or gay, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views.
LGBT, or GLBT, is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. In use since the 1990s, the term is an adaptation of the initialism LGB, which was used to replace the term gay in reference to the LGBT community beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s. Activists believed that the term gay community did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social gender equality. This includes fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.
In more recent years, the idea of the "lesbian and gay community" has been largely subsumed into the idea of the LGBT community, and the idea of "coming out" expanded to include not only the voluntary self-disclosure of a lesbian, gay, or bisexual sexual orientation, but also that of transgender, genderqueer, or other non-mainstream gender identity.
The gay liberation movement is a social and political movement of the late 1960s through the mid-1980s that urged lesbians and gay men to engage in radical direct action, and to counter societal shame with gay pride. In the feminist spirit of the personal being political, the most basic form of activism was an emphasis on coming out to family, friends and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. In this period, annual political marches through major cities, usually held in June were still known as "Gay Liberation" marches. It wasn't until later in the seventies and well into the eighties in smaller communities, that the marches began to be called "gay pride parades." The movement involved the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in North America, South America, Western Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.
The LGBT community or GLBT community, also referred to as the gay community, is a loosely defined grouping of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, LGBT organizations, and subcultures, united by a common culture and social movements. These communities generally celebrate pride, diversity, individuality, and sexuality. LGBT activists and sociologists see LGBT community-building as a counterbalance to heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, sexualism, and conformist pressures that exist in the larger society. The term pride or sometimes gay pride is used to express the LGBT community's identity and collective strength; pride parades provide both a prime example of the use and a demonstration of the general meaning of the term. The LGBT community is diverse in political affiliation. Not all people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender consider themselves part of the LGBT community.
Self-disclosure is a process of communication by which one person reveals information about themself to another. The information can be descriptive or evaluative, and can include thoughts, feelings, aspirations, goals, failures, successes, fears, and dreams, as well as one's likes, dislikes, and favorites.
NCOD was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary. Eichberg, who died in 1995 of complications from AIDS, was a psychologist from New Mexico and founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience. O'Leary was an openly lesbian political leader and long-time activist from New York, and was at the time the head of the National Gay Rights Advocates in Los Angeles.LGBT activists, including Eichberg and O'Leary, did not want to respond defensively to anti-LGBT action because they believed it would be predictable. This caused them to found NCOD in order to maintain positivity and celebrate coming out. The date of October 11 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
Jean O'Leary was an American lesbian and gay rights activist. She was the founder of Lesbian Feminist Liberation, one of the first lesbian activist groups in the women's movement, and an early member and co-director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. She co-founded National Coming Out Day.
A psychologist studies normal and abnormal mental states, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments. To become a psychologist, a person often completes a graduate university degree in psychology, but in most jurisdictions, members of other behavioral professions can also evaluate, diagnose, treat, and study mental processes.
A lesbian is a homosexual woman. The word lesbian is also used for women in relation to their sexual identity or sexual behavior regardless of sexual orientation, or as an adjective to characterize or associate nouns with female homosexuality or same-sex attraction.
Most people think they don't know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact, everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.
- – Robert Eichberg, in 1993
Initially administered from the West Hollywood offices of the National Gay Rights Advocates, the first NCOD received participation from eighteen states, garnering national media coverage. In its second year, NCOD headquarters moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and participation grew to 21 states. After a media push in 1990 NCOD was observed in all 50 states and seven other countries. Participation continued to grow and in 1990 NCOD merged their efforts with the Human Rights Campaign.
West Hollywood, commonly referred to as WeHo, is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Incorporated in 1984, it is home to the Sunset Strip. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, its population was 34,399. It is considered one of the most prominent gay villages in the United States.
Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and the seat of Santa Fe County.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States. The organization focuses on protecting and expanding rights for LGBT individuals, most notably advocating for marriage equality, anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation, and HIV/AIDS advocacy. The organization has a number of legislative initiatives as well as supporting resources for LGBT individuals.
National Coming Out Day is observed annually to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement. The first decades of observances were marked by private and public people coming out, often in the media, to raise awareness and let the mainstream know that everyone knows at least one person who is lesbian or gay.In more recent years, because coming out as a lesbian or gay man is now far less risky in most Western countries, the day is more of a holiday. Participants often wear pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags.
Coming out of the closet, often shortened to coming out, is a metaphor for LGBT people's self-disclosure of their sexual orientation or of their gender identity. The term coming out can also be used in various non-LGBT applications.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) social movements are social movements that advocate for LGBT+ people in society. Social movements may focus on equal rights, such as the 2000s movement for marriage equality, or they may focus on liberation, as in the gay liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Earlier movements focused on self-help and self-acceptance, such as the homophile movement of the 1950s. Although there is not a primary or an overarching central organization that represents all LGBT+ people and their interests, numerous LGBT rights organizations are active worldwide. The earliest organizations to support LGBT+ rights were formed in the 19th century.
The gay community has adopted certain symbols for self-identification to demonstrate unity, pride, shared values, and allegiance to one another. LGBT symbols communicate ideas, concepts, and identity both within their communities and to mainstream culture. The two most-recognized international LGBT symbols are the pink triangle and the rainbow flag. The pink triangle, employed by the Nazis in World War II as a badge of shame, was re-appropriated but retained negative connotations. The rainbow flag, previously used as a symbol of unity among all people, was adopted to be a more organic and natural replacement without any negativity attached to it.
National Coming Out Day is also observed in Ireland,Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In the United States, the Human Rights Campaign sponsors NCOD events under the auspices of their National Coming Out Project, offering resources to LGBT individuals, couples, parents, and children, as well as straight friends and relatives, to promote awareness of LGBT families living honest and open lives. Candace Gingrich became the spokesperson for NCOD in April 1995. From 1999 to 2014 the Human Rights Campaign announced a theme to go with each NCOD:
Candace Gingrich is an American LGBT rights activist at the Human Rights Campaign. Candace is the half-sibling of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is more than 20 years their senior.
While NCOD has been a celebratory day for the LGBT community, there have been several criticisms on how the holiday perpetuates homonormativity. Preston Mitchum, a black queer writer, wrote an article called "On National Coming Out Day, Don't Disparage the Closet", published in The Atlantic in 2013 that discusses the assumptions that NCOD makes. In the article, Mitchum does not discredit those who have come out, still praising them for their bravery. Instead, he acknowledges how coming out may not always be safe for LGBT people who are a part of multiple marginalized communities.Mitchum also suggests that coming out can lead to hypervisibility for those with intersecting identities, potentially leading to discrimination in the workplace, family exile, violence, and criminalization.
Furthermore, radical feminist Adrienne Rich touches on the reasons people feel the need to come out in her essay "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence," suggesting that it stems from the pressure to adhere to heterosexuality from birth, or compulsory heterosexuality.Rich uses the example that heterosexual people never have to come out as heterosexual, displaying the way that homosexuality is viewed as an anomaly.
Biphobia is aversion toward bisexuality and toward bisexual people as a social group or as individuals. It can take the form of denial that bisexuality is a genuine sexual orientation, or of negative stereotypes about people who are bisexual. People of any sexual orientation can experience or perpetuate biphobia.
Heterosexism is a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. It can include the presumption that other people are heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the only norm and therefore superior.
A straight ally or heterosexual ally is a heterosexual and cisgender person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBT social movements, and challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Despite this, some people who meet this definition do not identify themselves as straight allies. A straight ally believes that LGBT people face discrimination and thus are socially and economically disadvantaged. They aim to use their position as heterosexual or cisgender individuals in a society focused on heteronormativity to fight homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
Gay Blue Jeans Day, alternatively National Gay Blue Jeans Day or just Gay Jeans Day is a celebration frequently advertised on college campuses in the United States in coordination with World AIDS Day, Gay Equality Day, Gay Pride Week, or National Coming Out Day. Students are encouraged to wear jeans on a particular day to communicate their support of gay rights.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Bahamas may face challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. While same-sex sexual activity is legal in the Bahamas, same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to heterosexual married couples.
Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It has been defined as contempt, prejudice, aversion, hatred or antipathy, may be based on irrational fear, and is often related to religious beliefs.
Bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, the news media, and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include the belief that bisexuality does not exist.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Georgia face legal challenges that non-LGBT people do not experience. Georgia is one of only a few countries in the former Soviet space that directly prohibits discrimination against LGBT people in legislation, labor-related or otherwise, and considers crimes committed on the grounds of one's sexual orientation an aggravating factor in prosecution. Despite this, homosexuality is still considered a major deviation from highly traditional Orthodox Christian values prevalent in the country, where public discussions of sexuality in general tend to be shunned. Consequently, homosexuals are often targets of abuse and physical violence, often actively encouraged by religious leaders.
Lesbophobia comprises various forms of negativity towards lesbians as individuals, as couples, or as a social group. Based on the categories of sex, sexual orientation, lesbian identity, and gender expression, this negativity encompasses prejudice, discrimination, and abuse, in addition to attitudes and feelings ranging from disdain to hostility. As such, lesbophobia is sexism against women that intersects with homophobia and vice versa.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Tajikistan face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Tajikistan, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to heterosexual married couples.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Mongolia do not fully enjoy the rights that non-LGBT people are afforded, though there have been substantial improvements since the 1990s. Homosexuality was criminalised in Mongolia in 1961 through its Criminal Code. Following Mongolia's peaceful transition to a democracy in the 1990s, homosexuality was legalised and awareness about LGBT people has become more prevalent. Hate crimes and hate speech on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity have been outlawed in the country since 1 July 2017. Households headed by same-sex couples are, however, not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and other non-heterosexual or non-cisgender (LGBTQ+) athletes have faced intolerance due to heteronormativity within sports culture.
In the recent history of the expansion of LGBT rights, the issue of teaching various aspects of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life and existence to younger children has become a heated point of debate, with proponents stating that the teaching of LGBT-affirming topics to children will increase a sense of visibility for LGBT students and reduce incidences of homophobia or closeted behavior for children, while opponents to the pedagogical discussion of LGBT people to students are afraid that such discussions would encourage children to violate or question religiously or ideologically motivated rejections of non-heterosexuality in private settings. Much of the religious and/or social conservative aversion to non-heterosexuality and the broaching of the topic to juveniles tends to occur in regions with a historic demographic dominance or majority of adherents to an Abrahamic religion, particularly the majority of denominations of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, while those who were raised in those religions but advocate or take more favorable/nuanced positions on LGBT issues or are LGBT themselves may often be ostracized from more socially conservative congregations over the issue.
The following outline is presented as an overview and topical guide to LGBT topics.
Homophobia in ethnic minority communities refers to any negative prejudice or form of discrimination within the ethnic minority communities worldwide towards people who identify as – or are perceived as being – lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), known as homophobia. This may be expressed as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, hatred, irrational fear, and is sometimes related to religious beliefs. While religion can have a positive function in many LGB Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, it can also play a role in supporting homophobia.
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