National Coming Out Day (NCOD)
is an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender—coming out regarding one's sexual orientation and/or gender identity being akin to a cultural rite of passage for LGBT people.
The day is observed annually by members of the LGBT community and allies on October 11.
This date was chosen because it was the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights
NCOD was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg, a psychologist from New Mexico and founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O'Leary, an openly gay political leader from Los Angeles and then head of the National Gay Rights Advocates
The first headquarters was located in the West Hollywood, California offices of the National Gay Rights Advocates. Eighteen states participated in the first NCOD, which was covered in the national media. In its second year, the headquarters moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and participation grew to 21 states.
After a media push in 1990, NCOD was observed in all 50 states and seven other countries. Participation continued to grow and in 1990 NCOD merged their efforts with the Human Rights Campaign Fund.
National Coming Out Day is observed annually to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement.
The holiday is observed in a wide variety of ways: from rallies and parades to information tables in public spaces. Participants often wear pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags.
National Coming Out Day is observed in many countries, including Australia, Canada, Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
In the United States, the Human Rights Campaign sponsors NCOD events under the auspices of their National Coming Out Project, offering resources to LGBT individuals, couples, parents and children, as well as straight friends and relatives, to promote awareness of LGBT families living honest and open lives. Candace Gingrich became the spokesperson for NCOD in April 1995.
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