National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an internationally-observed day of awareness established to inclusively celebrate those who openly identify as a gender identity or sexuality minority. The day is observed annually on October 11th by the LGBTQ+ community and it’s allies.
NCOD was founded back in 1988 by Robert Eichberg, a New Mexico psychologist and founder of ‘The Experience’, which was a personal growth workshop. The date of October 11 was chosen to celebrate NCOD because it is the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
Eighteen U.S. states participated in the first NCOD. In 1989, the participation grew to 21 states. After a massive media push in 1990, NCOD was finally observed in all 50 U.S. states and seven other countries. In 1990 NCOD merged with the Human Rights Campaign Fund.
Candace Gingrich, the half-sister of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich became the spokesperson for the NCOD project in April 1995. She is currently the Senior Manager of the Human Rights Campaign’s Youth & Campus Outreach.
Celebrating National Coming Out Day includes a great many things from the staging of rallies and parades to the placing of LGBTQ+ information booths in select public spaces.
National Coming Out Day is now observed in a host of different countries, including Australia, Canada, Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
In the U.S., the Human Rights Campaign sponsors NCOD events via their National Coming Out Project. Often times the events are geared to offer resources to LGBTQ+ individuals, couples, parents and children, as well as non-LGBTQ+ friends and relatives, the goal being to promote awareness of LGBTQ+ families living open and authentic lives.
Today, October. 11, 2014, marks the 26th anniversary of National Coming Out Day.