Annual celebration coincides with 20th Anniversary of 1987 March on Washington and the AIDS Quilt
by Brad Luna
This year’s National Coming Out Day
commemorates the 20th anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Aug. 22 that the theme for National Coming Out Day 2007 will be “Talk About It,” continuing the slogan and branding that the national program has been building since 2005.
This year will also mark an important hallmark, as National Coming Out Day, which happens on Oct. 11, falls on the 20th anniversary of the 1987 Gay and Lesbian March on Washington, as well as the unfurling of the AIDS Quilt on the National Mall. National Coming Out Day was celebrated a year to the day later as a way of continuing the spirit of openness, honesty and visibility that the March and the AIDS 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 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender 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 on coming out as an LGBT person, visit: www.hrc.org/comingout. Additional plans for a national project celebrating National Coming Out Day this year will be announced in mid-September.
Individuals and organizations interested in ordering free Coming Out Kits, which include resource guides, balloons, posters and other materials can do so at www.hrc.org/comingoutkits.