Not only is today Columbus Day, but it is also National Coming Out Day.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights awareness day, which was established in 1988, is being celebrated across the country and around the world.
Supported by the Human Rights Campaign and the National Coming Out Project, this year the day will focus on raising awareness of sexuality-related bullying in light of Tyler Clementi’s suicide.
To commemorate the day, New York Times’ “Motherlode” features an essay by Stephanie Fairyington who recently wrote in Marie Claire magazine about coming out to her mother at age 28.
In Fairyington’s case, it went better than she had hoped. “I had expected anger, judgment, estrangement — everything but acceptance,” she writes.
But, as The New York Times’ Belkin points out, not all coming out stories end so happily. “For every story of acceptance, there is one of estrangement, but by telling the ones that end well, perhaps there will be fewer that do not.”
Tyler Clementi’s parents told the press after their son’s suicide that they didn’t know he was gay. For a young person who is being bullied because of their sexuality, fearing rejection from their parents’ could be devastating.
I hope my kids know that I will love them just as much whether they are gay or straight. Luckily, I’m raising them in a community where they are exposed to all sorts of families. They have friends who have two mommies or two daddies and don’t think much about it.
My Strollerderby colleague recently wrote about how we should teach our kids not to use gay as an insult.
What are your thoughts on National Coming Out Day? Will you raise your kids to know they can come out to you safely?