Happy Friday San Diegans! Every Friday, I try to bring you a post that highlights ways to Live Green in SD. However, in lieu of the traditional Green Friday article this week, I wanted to use today’s blog post to recognize National Coming Out Day. National Coming Out Day is an annual celebration of those in the LGBTQ+ community, recognizing the immense courage and strength it can take to live openly as ourselves and how much further we need to go in fighting for equal rights. On this 31st annual celebration, I will be sharing some history about this day and information on some of the organizations that exist in and around SD supporting the LGBTQ+ individuals.
Turning back time, 1987 was a year that saw a flurry of activity in support of lesbian and gay rights in America. On October 11th, the day on which we celebrate National Coming Out Day, over 500K people marched on Washington D.C. in support of lesbian and gay rights, leading to rippling marches and demonstrations by LGBTQ+ activists throughout the region. Gay and lesbian rights activists Dr. Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary came up with the idea to make October 11th an annual beacon for pride to recognize these efforts and to provide the LGBTQ+ community with a day dedicated toward celebrating living proudly open.
With every passing year, new themes focused on empowering LGBTQ individuals, demonstrations, and celebrations of pride aid in keeping the flame alive in advocating for individuals to be comfortable in their own skin and encourage the continued pursuit of equality. However, just because some of us may live openly and have a day to celebrate stepping out of the closet, it does not mean that the charge to erase hate is over. Through their never-ending advocacy efforts, organizations like The San Diego LGBT Community Center work tirelessly to lift up LGBTQ+ San Diegans and provide them with services throughout our region – with specialized health support and resources provided for women, men, transgender, senior, youth, and multicultural communities. Over the past 21 years, the Matthew Shepard Foundation has, and continues to, replace hate against LGBTQ+ peoples with compassion, acceptance, and understanding. Such work has aided in establishing educational and support resources for LGBTQ+ youth, pioneer hate crime legislation, and facilitating community dialogue through their outreach.
Important to my role as a realtor and member of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) it is also in our primary mission to raise awareness and educate the public on behalf of the rights of the LGBTQ+ community as it relates to housing and discrimination laws. Specifically, this requires NAGLREP to engage and raise awareness of existing efforts amongst the civil rights community, local and state Realtor Associations, and the National Association of Realtors to support fair housing for the LGBTQ+ community.
Equally important to this mission is to work with legislators from near and far at local, state, and federal levels to provide education and raise awareness to legislation that would eliminate all discrimination laws and provide fair and equal rights to LGBTQ+ peoples.
How can we as a community show our support? Besides pridefully marking the occassion with friends, you can look forward to a bevy of great events on the horizon that will be supporting non-profits and other organizations providing services to those identifying as LGBTQ+. Though two weeks in the future, one such event is the Hollywood Harvest Howl on Thursday the 24th at 6 pm. Being held at The Abbey in San Diego (2825 5th Ave.) and hosted by the Metro Area Real Estate Professionals for Young Adult Housing (MARYAH), this event will be raising money to support the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Youth Housing Project. Donn your best Hollywood glam and come enjoy food tastings, a silent auction, and live entertainment while helping fund initiatives helping homeless and at-risk youth secure safe housing. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased here.
As always, Live Long and Love Where You Live here in SD. Enjoy your weekend and Happy National Coming Out Day!
More information on the history of National Coming Out Day, events supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and organizations can be found through these links: the Human Rights Campaign, NAGLREP, MARYAH, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, The San Diego LGBT Community Center.