October 11th is National Coming Out Day, an internationally recognized day to celebrate and support the LBGT community. It’s a day to give support to those that need guidance on how to come out to family, friends, and co-workers. It’s also a day for awareness and discussion.
In the wake of the recent tragic suicides of several students who were bullied to death by their peers, the arrest of 8 men in New York charged with hate crimes against several gay men, and the disturbing remarks recently made by New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, making strides to stop the homophobic hate, fear, and intolerance against the LBGT community has never been more important.
Speaking as a mother, I also want today to be a call to action for all parents. It doesn’t matter if one of your own children is gay or not. It doesn’t matter if your children are far too young to even know their sexual orientation. What does matter is that you live your life as a positive example to your children. Parents who demonstrate fear and hate towards others tend to raise children who do the same and, as we know, hate and fear is the foundation for bullying. By speaking positively about the gay community, advocating for equal rights, and modeling tolerance and respect towards others no matter their sexual orientation, you are teaching your children an incredibly valuable and important lesson. Your child might be gay. My child might be gay. It really doesn’t matter. Let’s work together to make it easier for all children who may need the love and support to come out one day.
Coming out is not easy. For some, it can be a painful process with the possibility of losing family and friends while others may not come out at all because of the homophobic attitudes of the people around them. Whether you need support coming out or want to find more information about gay rights, the Human Rights Campaign has excellent resources and information. Please check out their website at www.hrc.com.