Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, is celebrating the 29th annual National Coming Out Day (NCOD) with the release of a powerful new video highlighting the inspiring coming out stories of fifteen prominent celebrities and activists — including actress Sara Ramirez, Jay-Z’s mom Gloria Carter and WNBA star Sue Bird. HRC is also featuring individual videos of Ramirez, Carter and Bird, as well as singer Lauren Jauregui; actor, model and musician Daniel Newman; actor Keiynan Lonsdale; singer Jake Zyrus; and actress Natalie Morales. Finally, HRC is marking the day with the release of updated editions of its Coming Out Guides in both English and Spanish.
“Coming out is one of the most courageous acts any LGBTQ person makes, and on this National Coming Out Day that courage remains essential to our continued progress toward full equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “As LGBTQ people across the nation and around the world continue to come out, opposition to equality will continue to crumble. Sharing our stories is a key way each of us can fight back against attempts to turn back the clock on LGBTQ equality.”
In a powerful, personal piece for The Los Angeles Times in 2014, Griffin told the story of the coming out letter he wrote to his father — and, regrettably, never sent. “My dad passed away almost exactly four years ago — 10 years after I first started writing that letter,” Griffin wrote. “I wish I could say I just forgot to send it. But the fact is, I never had the courage.”
Every year on October 11, NCOD promotes a safe world in which LGBTQ people can live truthfully and openly. This year, many celebrities and public figures have courageously come out, including Shepard Smith, Sara Ramirez, Robin Lord Taylor, North Carolina Rep. Cecil Brockman, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Lauren Jauregui, Nico Tortorella, Mariah Brown, Ivory Aquino, Cody Alan, Taylor Bennett, Makonnen, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Texas Mayor Jess Herbst, Lilah Sturges, Bryan Stars, Anthony Bowens, Daniel Newman, Gia Gunn, Barry Manilow, Artem Kolesov, Shannon Purser, Shawn Barber, Ryan Santana, Peppermint, Miley Cyrus, Alia Shawkat, Keiynan Lonsdale, DJ GRiZ, Jordan Gavaris, Ryan O’Callaghan, Jake Zyrus, Lauren Duca, Savannah, Gloria Carter, Natalie Morales, Gavin Russom, Philippa York, Brian Michael Smith, Thomas Dekker, Greyson Chance, Sue Bird, Oliver Potter, Big Clive, Aaron Carter and Katie Sowers.
This year, it’s more important than ever to recognize the power of coming out — and for HRC’s more than three million members, supporters, volunteers and activists to use the power of their voices and stories to defeat attacks on our progress toward equality and secure protections for LGBTQ people in states and communities across the nation. This summer, HRC launched HRC Rising, the largest grassroots expansion in our 37-year history to resist the politics of hate, fight anti-LGBTQ legislation and fuel pro-equality candidates and initiatives.