National Coming Out Day is on Sunday October 11th. It is a imperative time for LGBTQ+ people who remind those in the cisgender heterosexual spectrum, that everyone knows someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community. It was chosen because it is the anniversary of the USA Washington March by the Lesbian and Gay Rights group in 1987 that same day.
Today, we acknowledge that coming out isn’t easy and takes incredible courage. We live in the world where many countries have passed laws to prevent discrimination or criminalization of LGBTQ+ people, but we still have a long way to go. Reflect on those who you know that are part of the community. Think about what trials they had to go through to be proud and open of who they are. The foundation of coming out is to combat that homophobia thrives on ignorance and silence. On this day, that silence will be broken.
Here are some guidelines if you’re talking with someone who is coming out.
- Listen to them. Do not interrupt them or diminish their feelings to you by saying “It’s not a big deal.” Or “I don’t care.” Instead, try saying “Thank you for sharing that with me.”
- Ask them if they want to keep this between you and the individual. Sometimes that person is only comfortable telling one person of their coming out story. Discretion is important.
- Ask what you can do to help. Sometimes, it’s just listening. Other times, it may require more. A list of resources down below is there to help you and those in the community who need it.
Quest Community Health Center in Saint Catharines Niagara http://questchc.ca/participate-at-quest/rainbow-niagara/
PFLAG Canada https://pflagcanada.ca/resources/
The Lifeline Canada Foundation https://thelifelinecanada.ca/resources/lgbtq/
Unifor LGBTQ+ https://www.unifor.org/en/equity/committees/lgbtq
If you have questions please reach out to the members of the Unifor Local 199 LGBTQ Committee Ashley Kofsky or Lindsay Gilliss