WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the theme for National Coming Out Day 2007 is “Talk About It,” continuing the slogan and branding that the national program has been building since 2005.
This year also marks an important milestone as National Coming Out Day 2007, observed annually on Oct. 11, falls on the 20th anniversary of both the 1987 Gay and Lesbian March on Washington and the first display of the AIDS Quilt on the National Mall.
National Coming Out Day was founded in 1988, exactly one year to the day later, as a way of continuing the spirit of openness, honesty and visibility that the march and the Quilt presentation inspired.
“Twenty years ago, as the AIDS crisis was raging, coming out was literally a matter of life and death,” said Mark Shields, director of HRC’s Coming Out Project. “In many ways, we have come a very long way in a relatively short time, and yet that lesson still resonates deeply today. Coming out and living openly is the most important thing that LGBT and straight-supportive Americans can do to build lasting understanding and equality.”
Today, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of Americans say they personally know or work with someone who identifies as gay or lesbian, according to Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. In 1987, only 11 percent claimed that they associated with a “male homosexual” on a regular basis, according to ABC News and The Washington Post.
For more information and free downloadable resource guides on coming out as LGBT, visit HRC’s official National Coming Out Day site at www.hrc.org/comingout.