October 11 is National Coming Out Day, and has been for the last 29 years. Five years ago, the United Nations also decided that October 11 is International Day of the Girl Child.
Now, I’m all for women’s activism. Anyone can tell you that I’m a huge feminist. Which is why this clash of dates sits so wrongly with me.
The UN had 364 other days of the year to choose from. Three hundred sixty-four. They could’ve chosen a date in March, which is the month typically recognized in the US as Women’s History Month.
They could’ve chosen January 22, the day that Roe v. Wade was officially decided.
They could’ve chosen August 18, the day that American women won the right to vote.
Even better, since this holiday isn’t only observed in the States, they could’ve chosen September 19, the day that New Zealand became the first self-governing entity to recognize universal women’s suffrage in 1893. They could’ve chosen any of these important dates and many more, but they instead chose October 11.
October 11 was chosen for National Coming Out Day for a reason. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the organization behind the holiday, the date was chosen due to its coincidence with the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights in 1979, one of the hallmark events of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
As an LGBTQ+ person, it really pains me to see such an important day of the year for our community overshadowed by something newer, shinier, and more universally applicable. I’ve seen so many more posts for Day of the Girl Child than I have for Coming Out Day today.
People like Malala Yousafzai and Michelle Obama do deserve to be recognized for their influence on girls around the globe but on their own day. With the mistreatments of the LGBTQ+ community around the world, this seems like just another chapter in our erasure.
And maybe I’m alone in this. I want to celebrate girls, and I want to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, but this is one situation where I don’t want to celebrate them together.
The majority of LGBTQ+ holidays are days of remembrance. Can we keep one day for celebration?