Oct. 11, 2020, otherwise known as National Coming Out Day, is special for the queer and LGBTQ+ community. People all over the U.S. will be celebrating this holiday and showing off their pride.
Though we know that love has no barriers, it took a long time for the U.S. to accept LGBTQ+ love. National Coming Out Day commemorates Oct. 11, 1987, where 500,000 people gathered in Washington D.C. to protest for Lesbian and Gay rights. According to National Today, this inspired others to create a national holiday to celebrate coming out. Thirty years later, the holiday remains, and is designed to support those who can and cannot come out as LGBTQ+.
Even though this holiday is a point of pride for the LGBTQ+ community, it also serves as a reminder that they still didn’t have many rights. Gay marriage was only legalized in 2004, and would not be recognized nationally until 2015.
It is still hard for some people to come out even today. There is still a big stigma surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. Coming out may still mean that families get torn apart, jobs are lost and friendships are ruined. Discrimination still kills many queer people each year.
This is the importance of National Coming Out Day. Closted LGBTQ+ people need our support to finally stop hiding behind a fake persona and live as they truly are.
Hattiesburg recognizes the importance of National Coming Out Day, too. This year, it will be holding its sixth annual Pride March on Oct. 17, 2020. The march will be hosted by The Spectrum Center and Pine Belt Pride. For those who don’t know, The Spectrum Center is a resource for the LGBTQ+ community to access mental, physical and financial support. This year’s march in particular will focus on justice for transgender women of color.
“The march will consist of a chant of the thirty transgender and gender non-conforming individuals we lost in the US this year,” explained one Spectrum Center representative.
Being Black is hard enough. Being queer and transgender on top of that can be horrific.
As a Black queer woman myself, I can say from experience that is a difficult to come out. I go through enough oppression and discrimination from being a Black woman, but being queer just makes my life that much harder. I feel like I must hide that part of me or my mental health will be destroyed.
Coming from a religious household, I don’t have the luxury to “come out”. I have no sense of self and individuality in my family. National Coming Out Day is an important holiday for me because it helps me realize that I am not alone in this journey.
Though some people may still not support LGBTQ+ rights or don’t accept transgender people, everyone should support saving a human life. Trans people of color are not safe from the government, their communities, the economy, their families and even themselves. Imagine having to fight the battle between your skin color and your gender identity and sexuality. Just as Black Lives Matter, Trans and Trans People of Color also Matter.
So, I encourage readers to look more into supporting the LGBTQ+ community to honor National Coming Out Day. There are other ways to support than donating money or marching. The Spectrum Center is always open to inform people on how to support the community, and there are a lot of great resources online to explore.
And, if you want to show your pride in person, just remember that the Hattiesburg Pride March is on Saturday, Oct. 17. Happy National Coming Out Day!