Coming Out Day is an internationally-observed civil awareness day for coming out and discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. It is observed by members of the LGBT communities and their supporters (often referred to as "allies") on October 11 every year, or October 12 in the United Kingdom.
Coming out / being "open"
NCOD founders Rob Eichberg, Ph.D. and Jean O'Leary encouraged all people, of all sexual orientations, to "take your next step" in living openly and powerfully on October 11th.
It is highly encouraged for participants on this day to wear gay pride symbols, such as the pink triangle (gay men), the black triangle (lesbians), the Greek letter lambda, and rainbows in jewelry and on clothing.
The day was founded by Dr. Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary in 1988,acting on behalf of their organizations, The Experience (www.ExperienceYourPower.com) and National Gay Rights Advocates, in celebration of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights one year earlier, in which 500,000 people marched on Washington, DC, United States, for gay and lesbian equality. National Coming Out Day events are aimed at raising awareness of the LGBT community among the general populace in an effort to give a familiar face to the LGBT rights movement.
In the United States, the Human Rights Campaign manages the event under the National Coming Out Project, offering resources to LGBT individuals, couples, parents and children, as well as straight friends and relatives, to promote awareness of LGBT families living honest and open lives. Candace Gingrich became the spokesperson for the day in April 1995.
Despite its name, National Coming Out Day (so called because it originated as an event in the United States) is in fact observed in many countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Croatia, Poland and the United Kingdom (in the UK it is celebrated on October 12). As of 2008, the Netherlands also has Coming Out Day on October 11.