HELENA - October 11th marked National Coming Out Day and people all over — including in Helena — celebrated the annual LGBTQ+ awareness and support day.
National Coming Out Day was inspired by a march on October 11, 1987, where 500,000 people participate in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights.
Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary were the first to propose the idea of National Coming Out Day. On the first National Coming Out Day, only 18 states participated.
This number skyrocketed with media attention and sent the event worldwide.
Montana Book Company co-owner Chelsia Rice says that coming out happens every day.
“I think for a lot of people it is an opportunity to come out, and I think for a lot of people coming out is something you do every day in a variety of circumstances, at work, coming out of your home, coming out to a friend, and acknowledging to other people that you are not a heterosexual, regularly happens to people in this community,” said Rice.
National Coming Out Day is a day for all those who fought to openly celebrate their true self, but it’s also a day for younger people who are looking to join the community.
“It is especially important to young people, who are coming into their own and understanding where they fit in with their partners and their culture,” said Rice.
Tuesday was a day for celebration to all who came out, but for some, it can be a day of nervousness and bravery.
“There’s a lot of anxiety of coming out, it’s often dangerous and sometimes it’s celebrated as well, and I think we’re moving in a direction where more people are being understood for who they are and who they decide to pair with and who they want to be,” said Rice.