The Usurpers of National Coming Out Day

Today is the 20th anniversary of National Coming Out Day which was co-founded by Jean O’Leary, former co-executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Rob Eichberg in 1987 which was marked by the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights.

According to Wikipedia:

The second such march on Washington, drew 500,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to protest for equal civil rights and to demand government action in the fight against AIDS. The march, demonstration and rally also included the first public display of Cleve Jones’ NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and the first community wedding.

Just a quick note: Whoever wrote the wiki file was being quite generous because although transgender people were there, at that time, transgender people weren’t being recognized as attending this or any other Gay and lesbian political event. Just one of many examples of how our history gets re-written and like transgender people, the facts are often omitted. But, I digress.

There were a lot of organizations involved in the second annual march on Washington, it was an event which was largely attended by grassroots activists who were grief stricken and inflamed with anger that our United States of America could ignore it’s citizens in a time of need. That our country could let a health care crisis continue unchecked because our President believed that the people it most affected were those suffering moral inequities. Yet here we are today still in similar crisis but those once angry, grassroots activists and their national coming out day has had it’s message controlled, packaged, wrapped and sold in a marketing bedazzlement that is but one of many schemes designed help keep their business organization flowing in cash. Some of us pay with our lives, especially our youth.

I hope we never become so engrossed in these marketing campaigns that we forget where we came from or that it is equally important to teach safety to the young and old alike whether it be safer sex practices, safe dating tips or how to come out safely and that sometimes, it’s just not safe to come out.

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