Wednesday, October 11, 2006

National Coming Out Day

"The single most important thing [gay and lesbian] people can do is to come out, and one of the obstacles to coming out is the fear that you're gonna lose your job."

~ Representative Barney Frank (D-MA)

The good news is:

83% of self-identified gays and lesbians are out.

Seven out of 10 straight adults in the U.S. say they know someone who is gay, according to a recent poll.

Americans are becoming more supportive of gay issues:
Two new studies released today to mark National Coming Out Day show that more Americans know someone who is gay and, as a result, are more supportive of LGBT issues.

“As we continue to introduce our lives and relationships to Americans, more are responding in a positive way and being increasingly supportive of full equality under the law," said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese.

The bad news is:

According to 2004 FBI statistics, hate crimes based on sexual orientation constituted the third highest category reported and made up 15.5 percent of all reported hate crimes. Only race-based and religion-based prejudice crimes were more prevalent than hate crimes based on sexual orientation.

Conservative religious groups and Republican leaders are hosting a national event to oppose including gays and lesbians in nondiscrimination laws.

Coming Out as a Straight Ally, Because If Any One's Rights are in Jeopardy, Every One's are:

A straight ally is someone who is not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) but personally advocates for GLBT equal rights and fair treatment. Straight allies are some of the most effective and powerful advocates for the GLBT movement. These allies have proven invaluable personally and politically, and are increasingly important in the fight for GLBT equality. Indeed, their voices often have been heard while those of GLBT people have been ignored.

Opinion polls show that people who know someone who is gay or lesbian are more likely to support equal rights for all gay and lesbian people. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the same is true for people who know someone who is bisexual or transgender.

Download [PDF 851K] `A Straight Guide to GLBT Americans,' Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2006
The Human Rights Campaign and Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) present a first of its kind guide to GLBT Americans written for straight people. The guide walks people through the emotional spectrum that people typically feel after someone comes out to them, outlines myths and facts about GLBT people, and gives easy ways for straight people to learn more and demonstrate their support for GLBT Americans.

For more information, contact the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

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