In this segment of Centric Commemorates, two of our colleagues share their perspectives and stories about National Coming Out Day.
Part of our Centric Commemorates series.
October 11 is National Coming Out Day, which raises awareness and supports individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community to “come out” to friends, family, in their schools, workplaces and communities.
This day has its roots in the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, in which more than 500,000 people participated. The march and sustained LGBTQIA+ advocacy led to the creation of National Coming Out Day in 1988. By 1990, every state in the U.S. was celebrating it.
Whether one identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersexual, Asexual or any part of the ‘plus’ in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, the ability to openly embrace and verbalize one’s own sexuality and gender identity is a fundamental human right. And embedded within that is the right to be treated with dignity, respect, compassion and support.
This year at Centric Consulting, National Coming Out Day has more meaning than ever as we join our newly formed PRIDE Employee Resource Group in honoring and lifting up all our LGBTQIA+ members. We see you. We love you. And we celebrate you.
— Introduction by Jen Barnes
Celebrating My Story: A Quieter Coming Out
Every year when National Coming Out Day rolls around, I have been supportive of my friends and family and listened to people around me as they share their stories.
I’ve not really shared anything myself as I have always felt like I don’t have a big coming-out story. There hasn’t been a singular time in my life where I have announced anything to a group of loved ones. No big scary moment when people I care about could reject me at once.
But as I started thinking about National Coming Out Day this year, I realized I do have a coming out story. It’s just quieter.
I didn’t start thinking about my sexuality until my 30s. Life was too hectic until then, and I had other mental gremlins to deal with first. Once I got my anxiety under new management, I had the bandwidth to start figuring out who I was.
Now, there are a lot of letters in the LGBTQIA+ world (and more are added all the time), and I cover quite a few of them. But the thing is, I’m not unusual. Why? Sexuality and gender identity are more complicated than just single letters.
The more self-aware we become, the more we connect with our communities and the more we realize that “norms” are nuanced.
So, let me give you some perspective on who I am across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Click below to learn more about each. Here goes!
- I am a cis female and use she/her pronouns.
- I am demi/grey ace and pan.
- I bounce around the aromantic spectrum.
- My love language is Acts of Service, and I like to give gifts more than get them.
- I am not a fan of touch, and my space bubble is big, even with the people I am intimate with. (Finding these references uncovered the asensual spectrum, which I need to research more.)
Yay for the vocabulary to describe an ever-evolving sense of self! You might find that you identify with some or all of these, as well as other letters and terms.
Don’t let the acronyms and abbreviations fool you, though. Most of us don’t care one bit about a person’s “official letters.” It’s just another way to help us all feel connected.
What can you do this National Coming Out Day? Listen to and support those around you as they share and process their stories. Also, take time to explore your own sense of self and how you best connect with others. You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.
To learn more about National Coming Out Day, find resources to help become a better Ally, and find out about opportunities to provide financial support to the LGBTQIA+ community, please check out glaad.org.
— By Tanya Kannon, Business Analytics Designer/BI Developer, Data & Analytics
Through these stories, we’ll seek to learn, understand, and empathize. We’ll celebrate our differences and realize that though we have varied backgrounds and perspectives, we are one team.