Since 1987, National Coming Out Day has been celebrated on October 11th of each year. We are much closer to achieving full LGBT equality in 2012 than we were when Rob Eichberg and Jean O'Leary first conceived the idea of NCOD and Keith Haring first donated his now iconic image of a person exuberantly emerging from the closet.
Yet the importance of being out and visible in our lives is timeless, and National Coming Out Day is an opportunity not only to be out in our personal lives but to be out for LGBT civil rights, including marriage equality.
As Harvey Milk said, before there was an official Coming Out Day:
"I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let that world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would imagine. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights.”
With marriage equality on the ballot in several states this year, and momentum towards equality increasingly on our side, despite some setbacks along the way, there is no better time to be out and proud and standing up for full equality.
Happy Coming Out Day, Everyone!