October 11th marks the 29th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, where we celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or as an ally. It serves as a reminder that one of our most basic tools to gain equality is the power of coming out. One out of every two Americans has someone close to them who identifies as gay or lesbian. For transgender people, that number is only one in ten.

The first National Coming Out Day was observed in 1988 on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights that took place on October 11th, 1987, where half a million people marched on Washington.

The originators of the idea for the national day to celebrate coming out were Rob Eichberg, a founder of the personal growth workshop for LGBTQ people, “The Experience,” and Jean O’Leary, then head of National Gay Rights Advocates. “Most people think they don’t know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does,” said Eichberg in 1993. “It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.”

Each National Coming Out Day helps promote a safe world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly.

For more info, visit Facebook.com/nationalcomingoutday.