When faced with the question what is National Coming Out Day, many people would stand clueless before the asker. National Coming Out Day is in fact just what it sounds like: a day for homosexual individuals to express their orientation without fear of humiliation and alienation and raise awareness about gay rights. National Coming Out Day is Oct. 11 each year and is marked by festivals, public speeches, and other awareness-oriented activities. This year, the U.S. National Coming Out Day coincided with Columbus Day; in the UK, it doesn’t start until Oct. 12.
National Coming Out Day is just another opportunity for homosexual individuals to put their voices and opinions out there and change the way people look at the homosexual lifestyle. The holiday offers an opportunity to speak out about the rights that every human being deserves no matter what their orientation is. Other such events have been happening this month that have made the public as a whole view homosexuality differently.
One such event is the death of Tyler Clementi. The first-year Rutgers student took his own life in late September after his roommate posted a video of him allegedly having sex with another man. This was not the first young homosexual male to take his life, but it certainly shined a light on how crippling bullying and homophobia can be.
Another incident happened just last week when a promo for the movie “The Dilemma” was pulled for using the word “gay” in an unflattering context. The public was up in arms after Vince Vaughn’s character called electric cars gay, which was perceived by many as a slur. Such voices as CNN’s Anderson Cooper spoke out about the use of the word in a seemingly derogatory manner, as did Ellen DeGeneres when Vaughn visited her show and hastily explained that the line wasn’t meant as a slur toward actual gay and lesbian people but rather a pop culture phrase that was a slur to anything that it was directed at.
Lastly, just this week, New York governor hopeful Carl Paladino made a seemingly anti-gay slur then tried to work his way back to solid ground afterward. Paladino stated in a speech that he “didn’t want children brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable.” He also stated that “there is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” These comments again draw attention to the plight that homosexual individuals encounter every day from close-minded individuals who are supposed to be representing the people.
While none of these events are exclusive to the realm of homosexual rights, they do shed a light on the subculture that is homosexuality. They let the people know what it is to be persecuted on a daily basis, so much, in fact, that you feel you must take your own life. They show us that even the supposedly homosexual-friendly media throws a low blow once in a while. And, lastly, they show us that even our government is self-serving to an extent, and that it isn’t always easy to be different.
Donny Trem, National Coming Out Day 2010, news.mwza.com
Jason Mannino, Homophobia: The Plague That is Killing Our Youth, huffingtonpost.com
Reuters, Unversal Yanks Movie Trailor Over Use of ‘Gay’, reuters.com
Associated Press, Governor Candidate Carl Paladino Makes Anti-Gay Slur, theindependent.co.uk