Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happy National Coming Out Day!!


October 11th, 2006.

It's National Coming Out Day!! Not a hugely well-known holiday but one I try to observe every year. So, allow me my soap box for a moment...and hopefully you'll learn something you didn't know (because I know I did just from my short Google search this morning!!)

Did you know (from hrc.org):

Most people come out because, sooner or later, they can’t stand hiding who they are anymore. They want their relationships to be stronger, richer, more fulfilling and authentic.

Once we do come out, most of us find that it feels far better to be open and honest than to conceal such an integral part of ourselves.

We also come to recognize that our personal decision to live openly helps break down barriers and stereotypes that have kept others in the closet. And in doing so, we make it easier for others to follow our example.


Coming out is a really important thing for me. If you know me, you know that I'm gay. And usually, within the first few weeks of getting to know me, you learn this about me. I've found that it makes things much more simple to just put it out there...leaving people guessing makes them cranky and me antsy. And you know, I've discovered it's really not such a big deal to just about anyone I've ever met. We truly are everywhere...

Here are some fun (or not so fun) facts for you:

Ten Things Every American Ought to Know

* Same-sex couples live in 99.3 percent of all counties nationwide (2000 U.S. Census).
* The federal government could save more than $1 billion a year by allowing same-sex couples to marry (2004 Congressional Budget Office).
* There are more than 1 million gay and lesbian veterans in the United States (Urban Institute).
* Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country needs laws protecting transgender individuals from discrimination (2002 HRC Foundation poll).
* Nearly half of all Fortune 500 Companies offer domestic partner health benefits (2004 HRC State of the Workplace Report).
* You can still be fired from your job in most states, simply for being GLBT, and have no legal recourse — because currently, no federal employment law includes GLBT Americans.
* Eighty-four percent of GLBT students report being verbally harassed — name-calling, threats etc. — at school (GLSEN 2003).
* There are at least 1 million children being raised by same-sex couples in the United States — and probably many more (2000 U.S. Census).
* Hate crimes against GLBT Americans are on the rise, even as other violent crimes continue to decline (FBI Hate Crimes Statistics 2004). Current federal hate crime laws do not protect GLBT Americans.
* In a national poll in 2006, 80 percent of Catholics said they agree with this statement: “Marriage is about love and commitment. Regardless of how I personally feel about gay people getting married, I don’t think it is my place to judge these people’s love for and commitment to each other.” (Accredited Research by Peter D. Hart & Associates).


We as triathletes are such a warm, welcoming and supportive group out on the roads, in the pool, and on the race course. And I've felt nothing but that support from each of you since coming out on my blog. I'm sure you're doing all you can to continue that support toward others in your daily lives. Thanks for making the gay folks in your lives feel okay about sharing something so important to them!

For more resources about coming out visit The Human Rights Campaign.

And although it sounds hokey, HRC offers a free guide:

A Straight Guide to GLBT Americans
"The guide walks people through the emotional spectrum that people typically feel after someone comes out to them, outlines myths and facts about GLBT people, and gives easy ways for straight people to learn more and demonstrate their support for GLBT Americans"

...you can get a downloadable PDF here.

AND, if you're curious about the history of the rainbow flag and it's status as a symbol of gay pride, check out THIS and THIS!.

Thanks for tuning in and Happy Wednesday!!

7 Comments:

Blogger 'Zilla said...

And a Happy NCOD to you, too! :)

12:45 PM GMT-5

 
Blogger JC said...

Just for the record... I am happy to do my part to make more gays. This naturally tends to happen for men around me. The women require a lil more finesse. But on national coming out day, I feel obligated to repledge myself to that goal. Oh wait. The lady friend may disapprove. Ok. Hmm.

Well happy national coming out day anyway. And yea for being out. Its much nicer out here, isn't it?

1:12 PM GMT-5

 
Blogger Pixie said...

Hi-First time commenting here! Just wanted to say nice post...I learned a lot! :)

3:00 PM GMT-5

 
Blogger Bolder said...

happy NCOD spence!

long-time reader here, i know things about you, ...

secret things...

like, you are a wonderful person!...

ok, maybe that's not so SECRET!!

7:33 PM GMT-5

 
Blogger Barb said...

OMG! You are gay??? Why am I always the last to know? :P (just kidding!!)

11:36 AM GMT-5

 
Blogger Jessi said...

I'm a day late but oh well:
Yay, gay! :)

10:39 PM GMT-5

 
Blogger Scott said...

I can't imagine how anyone lives in the closet - can you imagine the hell that must be?

Thanks for doing this Spence!

4:18 AM GMT-5

 

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