10 Ways You Can Make a Difference on National Coming Out Day
1. Share Your Coming Out Story
Many people think when you come out friends and family, you’re “out”—case closed. But the closet door often swings open and shut again and again. Whether it’s your medical provider, a new coworker or neighbor, the owner of a B&B you want to stay at, or an employer, LGBTQ people find ourselves coming out again and again in ways big and small. Maybe it’s subtly dropping a pronoun. Or answering the glare from someone who doesn’t think the gender marker on our driver’s license matches our presentation. Indeed, coming out is a lifelong process, not an event.
“Coming out” can apply more broadly than just to the LGBTQ community. By sharing our vulnerabilities and our authentic selves—whether or not what we are disclosing is identity-based—we can help others on their own path. Sharing something personal to help others is so brave, and receiving that story is a special gift.
Share your coming out story so that others can learn from your wisdom. In what ways do you find yourself coming out at this point in your life? What advice would you offer others? Send your coming out story to email@example.com and we will choose a few to share on our blog.
2. Take Action to End Employment Discrimination
Did you know that in 33 states, it remains legal to fire, refuse to hire, or fail to promote an employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity? Speak out for workplaces that affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all people, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. Add your voice to the chorus of others from a diverse array of religious traditions in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Click here to call your senators and ask them to end employment discrimination.
3. Tweet Your Faith: Speak Out for LGBT Equality
“It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It’s like disapproving of rain.” – Francis Maude
Sometimes, a simple quote goes a long way. This National Coming Out Day, leverage social media to make a statement! It’s stunning to think about the sweeping changes that social media platforms have created for human connections at all levels. Today, connect with your virtual friends on Twitter and Facebook and share a pro-LGBTQ quote or saying. Click here to use our “tweet your faith” tool.
While you’re at it, use social media to speak out against casual homophobia too. Use the hashtag “#nohomophobes” to call out this hurtful language wherever you see it.
4. Join the Chorus to Pass the Respect for Marriage Act
While the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a crucial part of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June 2013, several parts of the bill remain the law of the land. A piece of legislation entitled the Respect for Marriage Act would repeal DOMA in its entirety.
Come out today for dignity, respect, justice and equality under the law. Click here to ask your congressional representatives to support the Respect for Marriage Act.
5. Channel Creativity to Inspire Others
Here’s a great way to make sure your voice is heard on National Coming Out Day: Chalk! You have to admit, when you see brightly colored chalk, you take note of what is being said. Why not use this opportunity to reach out to individuals who feel trapped in their own closet? Let them know “Gay is Good,” or “Gender Doesn’t Matter,” or whatever phrase speaks to you personally. This is also a great activity to get LGBTQ advocates of all ages involved on National Coming Out Day. Even though chalk is washable, please check your community’s policies on sidewalk chalk and be mindful about where you chalk and who might be responsible for cleaning up your messages.
If you have a chalking photo with a positive message, today or any day over the next month, share your photo on our Facebook page and we’ll repost it for everyone to see.
6. Become a Mentor (…and bring your honest, best self!)
There is no doubt that LGBTQ youth face unique challenges in our society. But many adult LGBTQ people shy away from mentoring, and the opportunity to provide guidance and support to young people, because we fear being discriminated against ourselves. Come out as a mentor! Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) has endorsed nondiscrimination principles for 25 years that cover sexual orientation, race, religion, and ethnicity. Ten years ago, the sexual orientation provision became a mandatory policy for all of the organization’s affiliates. Click here to find a local affiliate near you.
BBBSA focuses on helping kids of single parents, and may not focus on unique problems facing LGBTQ kids. So learn what you can about other local organizations working to mentor LGBTQ youth—for instance, the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, Leading Youth Forward Every Day in Washington, D.C., or True Colors in Connecticut.
7. Watch Our “Transgender Identity & Inclusion” Webinar
This interactive, informative webinar, presented by Alex Kapitan of the Unitarian Universalist Association LGBTQ Ministries office, offered a crash course in transgender identity and provided practical and concrete ways to increase your mindfulness and support of people of all identities and ways of expressing gender. Learn more about the oft-misunderstood “T” part of the acronym.
8. Embrace Intersecting Identities
Some of the bravest examples of “coming out” involve DREAMers–undocumented youth hoping for a brighter future and advocating for passage of the DREAM Act. Some of those DREAMers are also LGBTQ-identified. Now, more than ever, LGBTQ advocates are embracing the intersections of our movement with movements for immigrant rights, women’s rights, and racial justice.
Today, come out as an advocate for justice for all by sharing this photo via social media:
9. Come Out in Your Community
Years ago, the phrase “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used to It” took hold. Sadly, many people are still not “used to it,” and continue to work against LGBTQ equality. Sometimes it feels good to show up without apology, demanding to be seen as we are, protesting the societal structures that seek to keep us down. This National Coming Out Day, consider holding a “kiss-in” in your community. Has your city council failed to pass an inclusive anti-discrimination law? Hold your kiss-in in the public square outside the municipal government building. Feeling the heartburn over Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ donations? Make a statement outside a local franchise.
10. Have a Conversation with Someone New about LGBTQ Equality
Do you have a friend, family member, or neighbor with whom you avoid talking about LGBTQ equality? Use National Coming Out Day as a conversation starter and share why LGBTQ equality is important to you. Conversations and personal stories make a difference and can really change the way people think about these issues.
Also check out the companion resource, “10 Ways to Come Out as a Welcoming Congregation.”