Come Out, Come Out; Oct 11. is The Day
Celebrate the day whether you're straight or gay!
What are you doing for National Coming Out Day , October 11th? You're not gay? No worries! You're never too old to switch sides. No, that's not what I meant to say (out loud). I meant to say that the purpose of National Coming Out Day is to raise awareness of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues and encourage everyone to live an open and genuine life. There is plenty you can do to support and celebrate gay friends and family members and plenty that we LGBT people can do to honor each other. Allow me to offer some suggestions regarding your plans for the day.
How about some political activism - social media style? The Human Rights Campaign is sponsoring Coming Out for Equality on Facebook. Donate your Facebook status from now through National Coming Out Day. Compose your own status update or opt into the HRC message of the day to support anti-bullying programs, employment non-discrimination, immigration rights for LGBT families or the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act and DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) in our military. Follow the links on the Facebook page to get more involved in any of these initiatives.
Good parenting is a necessary form of activism. The recent epidemic of kids and young adults who committed suicide after they were bullied for being gay or perceived as gay is a wake up call for parents to get involved. Talk to your children about bullying. Have they been on either side of bullying? Do they have any friends who have had to deal with a bully? Tell them that words are powerful. Tell them how proud you are when they use words to heal and not to hurt. Think about the words you use and how you react to the hateful words of others. Your children are always listening to you and learning from your actions. You teach by showing as I tell Asher about how he can be a good role model for his little brother.
Perhaps you would prefer to be in front of the camera. Take part in Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project. Join the many celebrities and LGBT adults who have shared their personal stories on YouTube to help struggling LGBT youth find the strength and hope that Billy Lucas, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi and Raymond Chase could not when they took their own lives. Check out some of the videos by Tim Gunn, Kei$ha, Cyndi Lauper, Anne Hathaway and more who offer words of love and encouragement.
Looking for some festive options? Sunday, October 10th is Lavender Night at The Paper Mill Playhouse. The evening kicks off with a reception at 5:30pm and then a fabulous, feel-good performance of Hairspray. Select this LINK for group rate information.
October 11th is Gay Night at the Gate at St. James's Gate in Maplewood. On the 2nd Monday of each month, LGBT community and straight friends are invited to connect, have a drink or watch some Monday Night Football. I don't recall too many of us watching the game last month, but I suppose it's nice to know it's an option.
Of course, if you've run out of time to book a sitter for Hairspray, do not despair. Why not participate in the Hug-A-Gay initiative? There is no link for this event because I just invented it. I am a big fan of big, warm, full-bodied hugs for gays and everyone who supports equal rights. You may enjoy hugging so much that you keep on hugging even after the sun sets on National Coming Out Day. And why not? We could all use more hugs in our lives.
However you choose to spend National Coming Out Day, I hope you are able to honor the spirit of the day by living out, loud and proud whatever your orientation on October 11th and every day to follow. Make it a great one!