Joe Biden Addresses Gay Americans on National Coming Out Day

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Joe Biden commemorated National Coming Out Day on Monday by saying the US still has work to do to achieve equality for all Americans amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation in state legislatures across the country.

CNN: “Today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are — regardless of whether or not you’ve come out,” Biden said in a statement.

The President said: “Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere. From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.”

National Coming Out Day is observed annually to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement. 

The first decades of observances were marked by private and public people coming out, often in the media, to raise awareness and let the mainstream know that everyone knows at least one person who is lesbian or gay.

 In more recent years, because coming out as LGBT is now far less risky in most Western countries, the day is more of a holiday. Participants often wear pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags.

NCOD was inaugurated in 1988 by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary. Eichberg, who died in 1995 of complications from AIDS, was a psychologist from New Mexico and the founder of the personal growth workshop “The Experience.”

The date of October 11 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

Robert Eichberg said in 1993, “Most people think they don’t know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact, everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.”