Madeline Myers
MSW Intern

National Coming Out Day at UpStreet

October 11 was National Coming Out Day for the LGBTQ+ community! At UpStreet, we want to show our support and talk about this important day. 

National Coming Out Day began in 1988 after the 1987 Second National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, attended by half a million people and famous folks such as Whoopi Goldberg, Jesse Jackson, and Cesar Chavez. The march advocated for recognizing queer relationships, passing a civil rights bill for gay and lesbian people, ending discrimination against people who are HIV-positive, and repealing laws that made it illegal for queer people to have intimate relationships.

Today, National Coming Out Day is a time where queer people can find community, support, and celebration for their identity, regardless of whether or not they want to share it with others. Because many people assume that everyone is straight and cisgender by default (an assumption called heteronormativity or cisheteronormativity), LGBTQ+ people often have to come out to announce who they are. The process of coming out can bring a lot of emotions and experiences with it–from fear to excitement, hurt to healing, sadness to joy, isolation to connection, danger to safety, and anything in between or beyond. Likely, it will be a mix of many things. 

Being queer or LGBTQ+ is a beautiful part of human diversity, and you deserve to be celebrated! However, not everyone may feel that way. You are in control of your story and who, how, when, and if you decide to tell people about this part of yourself. Whatever you do or don’t do on this day, you are valid, you are queer enough, and you are a cherished part of your community. At UpStreet, we want to congratulate you for your identities and tell you that we care!

Below are two guides on coming out from the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project. We hope these are helpful for you, and if you want to talk to a licensed counselor about queer identities, coming out, or anything else in your life, we’re here to listen and support you! Our services are free and confidential, and we’d love to hear from you. Head to upstreetpgh.org to talk to one of our counselors. 

Click here for a guide on coming out from the Human Rights Campaign

Click here for a guide on coming out from The Trevor Project