25 LGBTQ+ People Share Messages Of Love & Support For National Coming Out Day

October 11 is National Coming Out Day in the U.S. and queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people all over the country are taking to Instagram to share their coming out stories and messages of support for those who either can't safely or haven't yet come out to family and friends.

The day started 29 years ago, according to the Human Rights Campaign, on the one year anniversary of the 1987 march on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Half a million people joined in the march that year, where the AIDS Memorial Quilt was first displayed.

Now, LGBTQ+ people take October 11 each year as a day to celebrate their identities, to show how powerful and beautiful the community is, and to help one another through the sometimes terrifying process of living out and proud.

Read on for 25 messages from queer and trans people for National Coming Out Day.

"These past few years have been a roller coaster but I am finally loving myself more than I ever have. Thanks to everyone who has been there for me, your support means more than I can say. It doesn’t matter if you’re questioning, in the closet, out and proud, or anything in between, you are valid and I love you."
"10 years ago when I was just a young 17 yr old baby I came out to my family. The reactions were varied, and from there on I had relationships, even my own father, change because of who I was finally able to admit to being. The world has since become an ever more cruel and dark place, my family relationships are basically non existent; but even with all that I still have a smile on face, I have never been happier in my entire life as I don’t let that dim the bright shine of my own rainbow. 10 yrs later I am happily married to my beautiful wife, I have a great life with some people — great people who love me for me."
"I was in 4th grade when I had my first girl crush, in 5th grade when I had my first girl kiss, and I was 16 when I first fell in love with a girl. I’m grateful to be a woman and I’m grateful to love them."
"Here I am. Alive, happy, and proud. Proud to be a successful college student. Proud to be a successful horseback rider. Proud to be Jewish. Proud to be Gay. For the last 4 years, through every obstacle, every hateful remark or belief, I’ve remained proud. I have my family and friends behind me, my community behind me, and the full support and acceptation from myself. I love who I am and who I am going to continue to become. Love who you want to love, and don’t forget to love yourself. Happy National Coming Out Day. I love you all."
"Yup, she keeps me swooning."
"It's #nationalcomingoutday, so for any of you still unaware..."
"Happy #nationalcomingoutday you queer lil angel. You are worthy. You are lovable."
"To be honest, it's taken me a long time to smile as confidently as I do now and some days this identity is still hard to navigate. Some days I still struggle with shame and guilt. Some days I wish people wouldn't just see queer written all over me. But life is beautiful — queer is so fucking beautiful. I'm grateful to be in my body, in this moment, and in this community. Show yourself a little extra love today and put that love forward and out."
"Always be the best version of you, even if the world is against it."
"So, a few months ago I decided to tell my family something about myself. As all of you know I’m gay and I was so afraid of how my family would take the news. After praying about it they took it well and so did my mother. I regret that I didn’t have enough courage to tell my grandparents or dad before they left the earth but I’m sure they are proud nonetheless."
"Happy #nationalcomingoutday!! I love being gay and trans."
"I've been out for a decade this National Coming Out Day. Thank you to all the family, friends, & lovers who helped me leave the abusive relationship I was in back then & grow into the bad bitch I am today. Here's to many more years of friendly reminders that my makeup & I are queer AF."
"Five years ago, I thought life was as good as it would ever get for me. I had this huge secret I was hiding that I thought I'd never have the strength nor courage to let out. Then, two and a half years ago, I decided that enough was enough, and the time had come to choose to live authentically. These past two years of transition have been the most fulfilling and happy of my life, no matter how difficult the journey was at times. Today, I choose to 'come out' and be visible for all the people who haven't yet, who can't, who are scared to. I do it for all those who think the journey is too hard for them, or too dangerous. I do it for that scared, maybe closeted, little trans person who is staring in their mirror, wanting to rip their skin off because the dysphoria is so overwhelming. It can and does get better. We are here, we are queer, and we are not going anywhere."
"Coming Out is never an obligation. You don't have to come out, to anyone or everyone. Every single coming out in one's life is a deliberate decision and it's your choice and no one else's. And deciding against coming out is not cowardice or a failure, it's your personal decision concerning your own wellbeing and happiness. Let no one tell you otherwise or shame you for it! It's what makes you happy that counts, no matter what people say. And if you feel like you're alone in this, let me send you hugs and let me tell you: you're not alone.

You're loved, you matter, you're important. You got this."
"Happy #nationalcomingoutday! To everyone coming out today, congrats! To those who can’t come out for whatever reason, remember that you are loved and you can get through anything. (Also pls don’t out anybody against their will/without them knowing!)"
"Coming out is an evolution.
I came out as gay 10 years ago.
I came out again as non binary 2 years ago.
Keep growing."
"Of course I #dress well, I didn't spend all that #time in the #closet for nothing!"
"I am so proud to be a part of such a loving community. As the flag is shown here, the LBGT+ home will always protect you, and welcome you with open arms. Coming out was easy for me, however it isn’t like that for everyone. I am so grateful for my family, friends, and others who have made me feel so accepted. Happy National Coming Out Day to those who are out and proud, and those who are still finding the courage. I show my pride for you all."
"Happy #NationalComingOutDay to all my LGBTQ brothers & sisters. My journey hasn't been the easiest & I'm only beginning. Stay true to yourself, it's all we have. Thank you to all the people who've supported me along the way. Couldn't do it without any of you."
"Happy national coming out day from a couple of queer girls who don’t know how to take a selfie! My advice for coming out is to surround yourself with loving, supportive people. The first people I told were people I knew would support me no matter what, and their acceptance was beyond helpful."
"Yeah so it's coming out day and I've been trying to find the time to say it but there's really no good time to say 'Hey I'm ace but not aro and I'm not exclusively attracted to one gender' so hey now you know."
"'Find out who you are, and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come.'"

"Thank you, my love, for all that you do to ensure the smile on my face each day. I’m forever grateful for how safe and loved you made and still make me feel when following my own truth."
"I am incredibly thankful to be able to feel this comfortable in my skin and so proud to be trans."
"I've been closeted free for FOUR years now. My plans for the future include: getting queerer and queerer with age, adopting a cat, and continuing to proudly hold my #Femme identity near and dear to me."
"Casual reminder that gender roles are stupid, sexuality is fluid, and being gay is okay. Now let's all just have a kiki cause life is too damn short to not unapologetically love yodamnself."
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