October 11 is Coming Out Day. A day that focuses on those who share their sexual orientation and/or gender identity with the rest of the world when they belong to the LGBTQIA+ Community. Is such a day necessary? Well, it’s a safe day for everyone who needs it.
This day is all about acceptance. Acceptance of the rest of the world about who you are and what you stand for. This should be the same on any given day. There is one problem: it’s not always acceptable. This day is for those who feel the need to speak out, but they were afraid to do so. This day is also for those who have spoken before but are not yet fully acknowledged.
Discrimination, violence, missed out chances and opportunities. That is what it’s sometimes all about. This shouldn’t be like this, but sometimes it is. Even on this Coming Out Day there isn’t a magic moment where or when this will all come to a stop.
You read the stories in the media or have experienced these examples first-hand. Examples about how others can treat those who are ‘different.’ That is why such a day is necessary. As long as it hasn’t changed, it will be necessary. Until it is fully accepted, it will be necessary. As long as there are convictions, it will be necessary. As long as there is violence, it will be necessary. As long as there is discrimination, it will be necessary.
National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights
There are plenty of hard, cold figures about exclusion, discrimination, missed opportunities in the workplace, violence and other things that are unacceptable. This was already the case when consideration was being given to making an annual commemoration of the famous National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. This took place in 1987 and was a protest against the federal Supreme Court. This court ruled that it was justifiable to prohibit homosexual acts.
The march would culminate in an annual day to commemorate this march. Later this would be supplemented by the desire to be able to openly tell who you are, what you are or what you want to be. So sexual orientation and gender identity. The day took on an international character.
In my home country, the Netherlands, the days between 2009 and 2014 were each given a theme. That was abandoned in 2015. Because it should just be that you can be yourself every day. As long as this is not the case, a day like this is justifiable.
Of course, I live in the country that was the first country in the world to open civil marriage to same-sex couples. Does that mean that the emancipation of everything that belongs under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella is complete? Was it normal to out you with this? Unfortunately not no. There is currently a discussion about the way strict Christian schools deal with LGBTQIA+ young people. That’s still something that isn’t right. Along with many other things. Hence, this day only makes sense!
You can ask the question, “What’s the use?” or “Should you only come out on that day?” Certainly not! Every day would be a beautiful day to be yourself! Whether that is Monday 11 October or which day you want to make a reservation. It’s a day when you can tell the rest of the world who you are, what you are or who or what you want to be.
Even if you decide to show the world who you are and what you stand for on this day, there is no guarantee that it will be well received. Not everyone is in favour of sharing these thoughts. That is why it is good that this day is here. It’s not abnormal. It’s not weird. It’s not repulsive.
No, you don’t have to choose to come out on this day. For anyone who is waiting for a good moment, this day can be a suitable moment. It’s not a matter of ‘must’. It never is. As long as we live in a world where you don’t always get the respect you deserve, a day like this is a necessary day.
Spirit Day and ‘Paarse Vrijdag’
Did you know that Spirit Day has a different name in the Netherlands? Here we call it “Paarse Vrijdag “ (Purple Friday). A day when schoolchildren and students put on purple clothes to show respect. Don’t confuse Spirit Day or “Paarse Vrijdag” (Purple Friday) with Coming Out Day. The days have a different character and take place on different days of the year.
A safe day for everyone who needs it
As long as it’s not considered ‘ordinary’ by everyone, this day is a safe day for everyone who needs it.
Image at the top of this page: Unsplash.