National Coming Out Day: How to Show Support

National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11) started in 1988, as a way to raise awareness about the LGBTQ+ community and its civil rights movement, says the American Psychological Association.1 According to Gallup2, at least 7.1% of adults in the U.S. identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. If you have a friend, family member or loved one who identifies as LGBTQ+, you can show your support any day of the month, but here’s a look at how to go above and beyond on Oct. 11.

Ask questions

The Human Rights Campaign3 encourages you to talk candidly and honestly with your LGBTQ+ loved ones about their lives, if they are out and feel comfortable talking to you. Even though you might already know how they identify, you might not know the whole backstory of how they got to be who they are. Here are a few questions to start an open conversation:

  • What was it like for you growing up?
  • What has the coming out process been like for you?
  • What can I do to support you?

Speak up

GLAAD4 says that if you hear an anti-LGBTQ+ comment or joke, take a moment to speak up and explain why you find it harmful and offensive. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but words matter. By speaking up, you’re letting people know their words aren’t acceptable. “I don’t like jokes like that” can do the trick or if you prefer, you could take the person aside and have a one-on-one conversation with them. Set an example to your friends and family by incorporating inclusive language into your regular conversations, advises The Human Rights Campaign.5

Get connected to the community

The Human Rights Campaign6 shares various ways to get plugged into the LGBTQ+ community. You can:

  • Join pro-LGBTQ+ causes or groups on social networking platforms.
  • Get in touch with your elected officials about LGBTQ+ rights.
  • Go to pride celebrations and other LGBTQ+ community events.
  • Consider your media intake. Read an LGBTQ+ article, newsletter or book. Watch a movie or TV show where an LGBTQ+ character is the lead.

Where to find resources

Many websites, organizations and groups can help you become an even stronger ally of the LGBTQ+ community. Here are two that you might find helpful:

  • PFLAG (formerly known as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays): This is a national organization that unites parents, families and allies with people who are LGBTQ. Learn more: http://www.pflag.org7
  • The National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging: Dedicated to providing resource development, technical assistance, education, and training for older adults and their caregivers. Learn more:

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  1. “National Coming Out Day,” the American Psychological Association, last accessed August 4, 2022,,and%20its%20civil%20rights%20movement.
  2. “LGBT Identification in the U.S. Ticks Up 7.1%,” the United States Census Bureau, last accessed August 4, 2022,
  3. “Being an LGBTQ Ally,” the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, last accessed August 4, 2022,, PDF
  4. “10 Ways to Be an Ally and a Friend,” GLAAD, last accessed August 4, 2022,
  5. “Being an LGBTQ Ally”
  6. “Being an LGBTQ Ally”
  7. PFLAG, last accessed August 3, 2022,
  8. National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging, last accessed August 4, 2022,