Friday, Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day. Coming out as LGBTQ in a divisive and often judgmental world is a deeply personal decision. This day is meant to show support for everyone, out or not.
The hashtag #NationalComingOutDay and the rainbow-flag emoji are appearing all across Twitter as users recognize the day with supportive tweets and their own stories of coming out as LGBTQ.
Actor and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted his encouragement: "At your pace, on your terms. Your happiness and safety are paramount. Sending endless love and courage your way."
National Coming Out Day started in 1988 to mark the one-year anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
"If you come out but cannot be safe, you are not free. The only way to triumph over fear is with love -- love of ourselves, our LGBTQ community and the diversity of communities and experiences that enrich our humanity," said Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David in a release on Friday. "We must turn that love into action -- by living our truths and fighting for a world where every person is safe to live theirs."
The Human Rights Campaign has created a resource page for people considering coming out.
Comedian Nick Lehmann marked the day with a technology metaphor. "For the longest time, I clicked the 'remind me tomorrow' option on my homosexuality. Eventually clicked 'download' and it was the ABSOLUTE BEST software update, gets even better every single day. And no bugs! Greatest decision I've ever made," he wrote.
Plenty of politicians are chiming in too. "Coming out requires finding the courage to share your truth. It requires you to stand on the hope that you will be accepted, and the faith that you can overcome rejection," wrote openly gay US Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
James Loduca, director of diversity and inclusion at Twitter, talked about life as a gay parent. "For queer parents, every day is National Coming Out Day when we go out as a family, hold hands in public, or are questioned about the 'whereabouts of her mother,'" he wrote. "So whether it's your 1st or 500th time coming out, remember you're perfect just the way you are."
Actress and trans advocate Nicole Maines (Nia Nal/Dreamer in Supergirl) addressed a message to those who aren't out or can't come out for whatever reason: "You are still valid and you owe your identity to no one but yourself. We see you and love you."
US figure skater Adam Rippon tweeted a gentle joke: "On this National Coming Out Day, I'm celebrating all the cardigan sweaters I wore as a closeted gay teenager. Thank you for telling the world I was gay before I was ready to."
National Coming Out Day is a reminder that coming out isn't just a one-time event. It's a process, and it helps to have allies and support, and to know you are not alone.