The LGBTQ community and allies are preparing to commemorate a pair of important days during LGBTQ History Month: National Coming Out Day on October 11 and Spirit Day on October 15.
National Coming Out Day will feature some virtual entertainment, while celebrities and athletes will be stepping up to observe the day in different ways.
Revry, a global streaming network focusing on queer content and creators, will host their QueerX Live! awards show on National Coming Out Day. That star-studded event will include appearances from former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Karamo Brown of “Queer Eye,” Angelica Ross of “Pose,” and GLAAD CEO and president Sarah Kate Ellis.
Jennifer Lopez and former Knicks coach Isiah Thomas will also be making appearances at the event, which will air at 8 p.m. EST and will be free for viewers at watch.revry.tv.
National Coming Out Day is getting attention from other stars, as well, like Cyndi Lauper, who launched a new video of her classic hit song “Time After Time” featuring LGBTQ-inclusive animations. Lauper’s organization, True Colors United, is partnering with the app TikTok to encourage folks to share stories, come out, and boost awareness for LGBTQ issues.
The day is notably being recognized in the sports world. National Coming Out Day falls on the fourth Sunday of action in the NFL, which is rolling out a range of initiatives to acknowledge National Coming Out Day, Spirit Day, and LGBT History Month. The league will soon be launching a dedicated site at NFL.com/Pride and it is also posting videos of former NFL players who are out, collaborating with GLAAD and the Trevor Project, and airing queer content on the NFL Network throughout the month.
It appears the league is aiming to send a clear message of inclusivity to players. Troy Vincent, executive vice president of the NFL, penned an op-ed on NFL.com October 9 emphasizing that the league is ready for an out player.
Four days later, the community will shift its focus to Spirit Day, which has been recognized annually on the third Thursday of October since 2010 when Brittany McMillan, a Canadian teenager, sought to mobilize folks after a rash of LGBTQ student suicides. Those tragic suicides included the widely-publicized death of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, whose roommate spied on him kissing another man and exposed the invasive video on the web.
Individuals are encouraged to wear purple on Spirit Day to show their support for LGBTQ rights and opposition to bullying.
GLAAD unveiled a large list of dozens of celebrities vowing to participate in Spirit Day, including Cher, Halle Berry, Sterling K. Brown, and Chris Daughtry, though that won’t take the form of any single event. Spirit Day-focused programming will also surface across several platforms and television networks. Disney will air PSAs, Hulu will offer LGBTQ-inclusive content picked by GLAAD from October 12-15, and iHeartMedia will feature PSAs on its radio stations on Spirit Day.
The casts of several CBS TV shows will join in to recognize Spirit Day, including Blue Bloods, the Late Show with James Corden, and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, among other shows.
GLAAD’s website points to a series of statistics from GLSEN and the Trevor Project demonstrating the need for Spirit Day. Seventy percent of LGGBTQ students report being verbally harassed, 71 percent of LGBTQ students say they hear homophobic remarks from teachers or school staff due to gender expression, and 53 percent of LGBTQ students opt against reporting bullying because they do not believe staff would intervene.
To participate in Spirit Day, GLAAD encourages folks to take a pledge against bullying, spread the word on social media, and, of course, wear purple.
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