National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is observed on Oct. 11 each year and celebrates the right of the LGBTGEQIAP+ community to live openly and authentically. Our communities are transformed when all people are able to live as their fully authentic selves in all spaces. National Coming Out Day recognizes, honors, and affirms this power and right. The date of this annual event was chosen to coincide with the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987, when more than a half-million people gathered together to make a powerful call for equal rights that echoes through the ages and into our contemporary communities.
Access to mental health services and having a safe space to share personal information is crucial for all. One of the core beliefs in the NBCC Creed is that each person is valuable and deserves respect and decency, which includes listening to others with intention, responding with respect, being mindful of an individual’s humanity, and being sensitive to differences in attitudes and culture. We also believe as counselors and as human beings that bias, bigotry, and racism have no place and are unacceptable in society and the counseling profession, and that education is a foundational element of growth.
“Education is key to creating communities founded on a basis of equity and respect. At NBCC, we recognize that access to mental health services and inclusive, affirmative counseling opportunities are critical to ensure that all clients are able to share their stories freely and receive needed support,” says NBCC President and CEO Dr. Kylie Dotson-Blake.
For this reason, we want to highlight a powerful learning opportunity for counselors who want to be better prepared to serve LGBTGEQIAP+ clients. Throughout October, the Society for Sexual, Affectional, Intersex, and Gender Expansive Identities (SAIGE) is hosting their annual conference virtually. This conference will offer opportunities to “build and boost existing knowledge, awareness, skills, and attitudes toward contextualizing the health and wellness of LGBTGEQIAP+ children and adolescents across systems and settings, and the impact throughout the lifespan equipping counselors and related professionals to better serve these populations.” SAIGE intends to explore and emphasize the intersecting relationships across professional health disciplines that serve clients, and counselors will have opportunities to learn alongside other health professionals. To learn more, register for the conference at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beyond-the-basics-saige-2021-virtual-conference-tickets-166750105053.
For helpful information on coming out, visit the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Center at https://www.hrc.org/resources/coming-out. To learn more about being an LGBTQ+ ally, visit https://www.hrc.org/resources/being-an-lgbtq-ally