National Coming Out Day

Copyright: Getty Images

It all happened a long time ago, when life for sexual minorities was a lot more difficult than it is today. On 11 October 1987 half a million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people marched on Washington DC to ask for equal rights with heterosexuals. They also wanted more action to fight AIDS. Every year since, on the same date, millions of Americans and others in a number of countries have celebrated National Coming Out Day.

On this day non-heterosexual men and women try to make “straight” people aware of their situation. In some countries the celebration is called “gay pride”.  The rainbow flag is flown and people wear symbols – like pink triangles for gay men and black triangles for lesbians – to show that they are proud of their sexual orientation.

The 1987 march and the celebration of National Coming Out Day ever since have certainly played a part in making life better for minorities and making majorities in a lot of countries understand them better.


What de we call these?

  1. Female homosexuals.
  2. People who are physically attracted to both males and females.
  3. A disease of the immune system caused by the HIV virus.
  4. The day celebrated every year in the USA by people belonging to sexual minorities.
  5. What this day is called in some other countries.
  6. Another word for “heterosexual”.
  7. The flag of the gay and lesbian movement.
  8. The symbol which gay women wear on National Coming Out Day.


Activities for the links below

1) Log on to the first website, where you will find advice to young gay and bi people. As you read the text and the stories told by the youngsters (with plenty of typing errors!), correct the information given in the following sentences. Write short sentences of your own, using your own words.

  • Same-sex dating is called “coming out”.
  • The first people you tell about your sexuality must be your parents.
  • Your parents will definitely not be surprised to hear that you are gay.
  • When you come out, just say “I’m gay”.
  • Everyone will be on your side.
  • Elle’s mother refuses to speak to her.
  • Susie’s parents were very negative when she came out to them.
  • Graeme says that coming out is easy.

2) Now turn to the second website and read what the anonymous Kenyan man has to say about living with his sexuality. Then answer these questions:

  • Why does Mr X (the anonymous man telling his story) have a problem with being gay?
  • In Africa, what do people expect of a man who is the same age as Mr X?
  • Because of his religion, what sort of life has Mr X tried to live?
  • In what way is life easier for him in Britain?
  • How does he think Christians should react to homosexuality?
  • What is his attitude to same-sex marriage?
  • What does he think of African politicians who condemn homosexuality?
  • Does he think homosexuality will ever be accepted by African leaders?


Cappelen Damm

Sist oppdatert: 18.08.2009

© Cappelen Damm AS