National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is celebrated on October 11th of each year. It is an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publically identify as bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender – coming out regarding one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity being akin to a cultural rite of passage for LGBT people.
NCOD was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg, a psychologist from New Mexico and founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O’Leary, an openly-gay political leader from Los Angeles and then head of the National Gay Rights Advocates. The date of October 11th was chosen because it was the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
The first headquarters was located in the West Hollywood, California offices of the National Gay Rights Advocates. 18 states participated in the first NCOD, which was covered in the national media. In its second year, the headquarters moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and participation grew to 21 states. After a media push in 1990, NCOD was observed in all 50 states and seven other countries. Participation continued to grow and in 1990 NCOD merged their efforts with the Human Rights Campaign Fund.