By Dr. Melisa B. Bailey, PsyD
The Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Day celebrates coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or as an ally. Oct. 11, 2015, marks the 27th anniversary of National Coming Out Day. According to a 2013 NHIS study, 2.3% of the US population self-identified as gay, lesbian or bi-sexual.
Having a day set aside to come out as LGBTQ helps raise visibility and decrease stigma because it is often the relationships we have with others that help to shape perception of a group or type of identity.
Additionally, for our young people who are exploring their sexuality or gender identity and may be struggling with feelings of isolation or fear of rejection, being able to see others visibly sharing their identities can be a source of support and decrease risk of suicide and other mental health difficulties.
Another related day to mark this month is Spirit Day, on October 15. According to GLAAD “Spirit Day inspires millions to “go purple” to support LGBT youth in a united stand against bullying. According to GLSEN’s 2013 National School Climate Survey, 8 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment at school.”
For anyone who is coming out and needs support or may be struggling with their identities, some helpful phone numbers to have are:
The Trevor Project – 866-488-7386
Trans LifeLine – 877-565-8860
Additional resources can be found at:
Learn more about Coming Out or “Coming Out as a Straight Supporter” with these resources and guides from the Human Rights Campaign. National Coming Out Day takes place during October National Bullying Prevention Month,
If you are wanting a safe and affirming place to explore gender or sexuality or to work on how to share these identities with others in your life, please contact The Juniper Center for an appointment at 847-759-9110.
Dr. Bailey is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in working with individuals, couples and families, including working with individuals around issues of sexuality and gender identity Additional areas of clinical interest include working with trauma survivors, exploring meaning making, and the development of parenting and creation of family within queer relationships. Dr. Bailey is an affiliate faculty member in the Clinical PsyD department at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.