Last week, 30 members of the Ohio House of Representatives introduced a bill to officially designate October 11th as Coming Out Day. This bill is an exciting opportunity for the Ohio Legislature to show support for LGBTQ Ohioans.
The celebration was started in 1988 by LGBTQ activists, Jean O’Leary and Robert Eichberg, as a way to encourage LGBTQ people across the country to live authentically and increase visibility of the community. Since the late 80s, National Coming Out Day has become an international event supporting LGBTQ people, whether they are publicly out or not, in Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
The text of the bill, HB 363, reads:
“The eleventh day of October is designated as “Coming Out Day” to raise awareness of the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community. The General Assembly recognizes that coming out is one of the most courageous acts any LGBTQ+ person makes and that courage is essential to the continued progress towards full equality.”
This is the first time a bill to designate Coming Out Day has been introduced in the Ohio Legislature, and it comes in a historic year for LGBTQ advocacy, both in Ohio and across the country. This year will also be the first time the Ohio Fairness Act will be introduced with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. At the federal level, the Equality Act has passed the House of Representatives for the first time ever, and 2019 has seen the first LGBTQ-specfic primary election town halls.
Whether you have just come out, have been out for years, or you are not yet able to come out, Coming Out Day is an opportunity to celebrate the progress that we have made and continue to make in securing lived and legal equality for all.