October 11 is National Coming Out Day
, an event created by the Human Rights Campaign in 1988 to encourage LGBTQ people and their allies to come out in support of visibility and acceptance.
This year is particularly exciting, coming on the heels of a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court
that nearly doubled the number of states that allow same-sex marriage from 19 to more than 30. For the first time in history, the majority of Americans live in a state with marriage equality.
To celebrate, we photographed 13 amazing LGBTQ women and asked them to tell us their coming out stories. Their experiences range from heartwarming to sad to surprisingly hilarious — but each is inspiring in its own way.