Come out wherever you are

October 11 is National Coming Out Day, an annual event promoted to encourage LGBTQI Americans to come out to friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1987 Gay and Lesbian March on Washington, which brought more than a half-million people to the nation’s capital and included the display of the Names Project AIDS Quilt on Capitol Mall.

The theme of this year’s event is “Talk About It.” The Human Rights Campaign, a sponsoring organization, has put a video up on YouTube and is encouraging participants to respond with a video of their own that describes their coming-out experiences and the benefits of living openly and talking about their lives.

A 1996 study by UC Davis psychology professor Dr. Gregory Herek indicated that when heterosexuals are closely acquainted with two or more LGBTQI people and have had open discussions with them about their lives, they are less likely to retain prejudices about sexual orientation.