Today is National Coming Out Day, a time when we in the queer/LGBT/GSRM community affirm our identities, reflect on the journey that brought us to where we are today, and look forward to a future in which being open about our lives is so commonplace that dedicating a day on the calendar to it would seem antiquated.
LGBT people in America have come a long way since the first NCOD in 1988, and people coming out today are doing so into a very different world than the one our community faced twenty-four years ago. Here are a few highlights:
- HIV may not be vanquished, but advances in medical technology have made the idea of "living with HIV" a reality.
- Homosexual sex is protected by law across the nation.
- Twenty-one states or territories allow for joint adoption by LGBT people.
- There have been major advances not only in the technical details of trans* related healthcare, but equally importantly in breaking down barriers to healthcare for trans* people.
- LGBT people have been granted the right to visit our loved ones in the hospital nationwide.
- The US Military no longer discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.
- Protecting the rights of LGBT people in our workplaces has become an accepted part of being a good corporate citizen for both the largest companies and small business across the country.
We've still got a long road ahead of us of course, but we've come farther in less than a quarter century than I think anyone would have believed possible at the time.
As we look towards the future, here's what you need to know today.