Youth Coming Out Today, Sharing Stories

Today is National Coming Out Day, a day celebrated every year when people take a moment to come out – as lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, and straight allies. Sharing your story and finding support is an integral part of coming out for many young people.

As part of National Coming Out Day, student groups across the country hold events, host speakers, invite their fellow students to come out and generally celebrate this opportunity to be out about who they are.  Local and university newspapers today featured stories from within their communities for National Coming Out Day. Take a moment to read Mary Stanfield’s story coming out as bi to the University of Oklahoma, or University of Montana’s Chelsea Carl’s story of coming out to her father.

Tonight, watch an MTV special called “Coming Out,” which chronicles two young people on their journey of finding the strength they need to come out to someone whose response they are unsure of.

Nevin, the 20-year-old from Cincinnati, gears up for the task of coming out to his college rugby team, unsure of how they’ll react. The overwhelming support and acceptance he finds from his team are heartwarming, but so is the strength that he draws from the love and support of his family. The special also follows 21-year-old Rachel of Sacramento on her journey to come out to her father. This MTV special highlights just how important family and community support can be in a young person’s life as they work though how to come out to different audiences.

Catch “Coming Out” tonight on MTV at 7 p.m./6 p.m CT. Watch the promo here:

Another youth focused story-telling project, “Living Out Loud” on the Born Like This blog helps shine a light on the lives of young people in their coming out journey. Colin Brown reflects on reactions from people he came out to two years ago and says, “And the ones that do matter are the ones who, when you showed them finally who you are, were the ones who said, ‘I still love you.’”

Finding support is a central theme throughout these coming out stories. For many young people, this can be difficult. Cindy Lauper reminds us all that every day young people come out, and it is time for adults and allies to love and accept young people for who they are. Higher numbers of youth experiencing homelessness identify as gay, lesbian, bi and trans, and a lack of family and community support can be part of their homeless experience. Watch the “Give a Damn” campaign PSA here:

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GLAAD commends these outlets for amplifying the voices of young people and allies who are sharing their stories in support of all young people and National Coming Out Day. Show your support for gay, lesbian, bi and trans youth by participating in Spirit Day on October 20. Take the pledge here.