WSU Vancouver recognizes National Coming Out Day. The first observation of National Coming Out Day was in 1988. By 1990, National Coming Out Day was being celebrated in all 50 states and seven other countries, including Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was inspired by a single march when 500,000 people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 1987. This generated momentum lasting several months after the march had ended. During this period, over a hundred LGBTQ+ identifying individuals gathered outside Washington, DC, and decided on creating a national day to celebrate coming out – this began on the 1st anniversary of their historic march.
It was Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary who first proposed the idea of NCOD. Eichberg founded a person growth workshop, "The Experience," and at the time, O’Leary was the head of National Gay Rights Advocates. Eichberg, who would later die in 1995 of complications from AIDS, had said, "the strongest tool in the human rights movement was to illustrate that most people already know and respect someone in the LGBTQ+ community, and NCOD helps these people come to light."
The importance of NCOD is manifold. It is a celebration of diversity. When different people come together, we are all stronger. Hate and homophobia thrive in silence, according to the Human Rights Council, and this day serves to foreground and accept the differences we have. NCOD shines a light on an important movement in history. Research studies have found that 5% of Americans identify with the LGBTQ+ community - and that’s not even counting all the allies, advocates, and supporters. The movements that stand behind NCOD are working to amplify voice, presence and agency of LGBTQ+ people and communities. NCOD can be life changing. The decision for one to live their life as an out human being - truly genuine and not hiding any aspects of their identity - is a huge step for many people in the U.S. and around the world. Therefore, NCOD may represent a new or next chapter, and one of the most important days in a person's life.
WSU Vancouver is in solidarity with NCOD and affirms every student, faculty, staff and external partner from across the spectrum of same gender loving and LGBTQ+ identities.
- Source Cited, including Direct Quotes: Nationaltoday.com/NationalComingOutDay