Coming Out Still Matters
By Anthony Imgrund, assistant project manager, New York
Today is the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day. First observed in 1988 as a way to commemorate the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the day is observed by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community sharing their coming out stories with the rest of the world.
As the Human Rights Campaign stated, “When people know someone who is LGBT, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories can be powerful to each other. Every person who speaks up changes more hearts and minds, and creates new advocates for equality.”
This year, the theme for NCOD is “Coming Out Still Matters.” It’s a great way to remind us that while things have been looking up (popular opinion has risen to all-time highs, 13 states have marriage equality, and Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down), there are still major issues facing the LGBT community.
The most startling one is the fact that in 30 states you can still be fired from your job if you are LGBT (11 of those states do provide protections for state employees but not to those in the private sector). Luckily, as an Interpublic company, Draftfcb includes sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination policy so our employees around the network do not have to worry about losing their jobs when they are ready to be open and their whole selves at work.
One thing to note: today is not about you going around outing your family, friends, and co-workers. Coming out is a very personal decision and should be done when the person is ready. Some people may not be ready or may still be coming to terms with their own sexual orientation or gender identity. Instead, just be ready to be supportive, accepting and respectful to those who are ready to share this information with you.
If you have any questions about coming out or the LGBT community in general, please feel free to contact Draftfcb’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally business resource group, IPGLBT, atIPGLBT@Draftfcb.com.