By Eva Grace Martinez
Volume 2 Issue 1
October 8, 2021
Image provided by Keith Harring
Hey everyone! Welcome back to Volume 2, Issue 1 of the North Star. My name is Grace Martinez, and besides editing for the fiction and creative section, *Polaris*, for North Star, you can find me running The Alliance club. The Alliance is North’s organization for LGBTQ+ individuals and is genuinely a great space. If you’re interested in checking us out, we meet every other Monday in room 309.
Thankfully, however, I’m not just here to pitch The Alliance to all of you. I’m here to explain one of the most important days in The Alliance’s calendar: National Coming Out Day.
National Coming Out Day (NCOD) began in 1988 thanks to Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary, two prominent LGBTQ+ rights activists. The two of them were interested in creating a day where all people within the community could celebrate who they are and rise above hate speech and homophobia. 33 years later, while homophobic attitudes are still rooted in the soil of many areas across the world, NCOD has become a bastion of hope and pride for many community members. October 11th was chosen to commemorate the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which took place on the same day a year prior.
NCOD is a day that is always full of hope and joy for me, and unlike Christmas, it can sometimes come early! Eagle-eyed readers may spot that our NCOD posters this year proclaim the 8th as the day to celebrate and not the 11th. This is simply because we are off on the 11th for Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day, but hey, there’s no shame in celebrating twice!
If you plan to come out on NCOD, I would first like to say that I, along with the rest of The Alliance, are incredibly proud of you! Coming out is a huge step, and we commend you for feeling comfortable enough with yourself to share it with others. Yet, I would also like to remind you that for the best NCOD possible, you must first make sure it is safe to come out. If you fear that coming out may put you in any sort of danger, it may be best to reevaluate your situation and plan your coming out for another time.
If you don’t plan to come out on NCOD, I am proud of you as well! Learning who you are is a challenging process, and you are not obligated to share this process with anyone if you do not want to.
If you are an ally of this NCOD, make sure that you show your support. Having a friend trust you enough to share a huge part of themselves is exceptional, and you don’t want to break this trust with an accidentally insensitive remark. If you can’t figure out exactly what to say in the moment, here’s a quick “cheat sheet” of appropriate and kind responses:
1. “Thank you so much for telling me. I appreciate your trust!”
2. “Good for you, I’m proud of you!”
3. “This doesn’t change a thing; you’re still my friend!”
Allies, make sure to check in on who else knows about your friend who has just come out; outing someone is a big deal and can cause a severe threat to someone’s safety and reputation.
Lastly, suppose you find yourself confused about terminology or anything related to NCOD; you are welcome to ask a friend who has come out to you (as long as you are respectful of their boundaries), or you could also attend the next meeting of The Alliance. I hope to see you there!
P.S. If you are looking for me this NCOD, you can find me decked out in as much rainbow as I can find in my closet (aka my old home).