It’s Oct. 11, which means it’s National Coming Out Day. The holiday was first created by the LGBT civil rights activist group the Human Rights Campaign, or HRC, nearly three decades ago.
When it began, it was in the midst of the AIDS crisis, which was largely associated with gay men in the 1980s. Since then, the spread of HIV and AIDS is much better understood, and the LGBT community, as a whole, has made several strides.
The acknowledgment of legal civil unions across the nation rose. President Barack Obama abolished the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” law in 2011. And, only four years later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage was a legal right in this country.
With all of that progress, legally and, even more so, socially, the idea of a day designated for coming out may seem dated. But, the HRC argues coming out now is just as important as it was then.
Gulf Coast Live producer Rachel Iacovone went to SWFL Pride this weekend to talk to some festival goers about how they first came out. Also in attendance were some local "open and affirming" churches.
Gabriele Spuckis is a deacon at Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ. She joins Gulf Coast Live after her congregation attended SWFL Pride.
She is joined by Deacon Jonathan Hollander from the Saint John the Apostle Metropolitan Community Church, which was also in attendance at the festival.