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Commentary: National Coming Out Day

  • Published
  • By Brianna Russ, AFMC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Team
  • Air Force Materiel Command

Commentary:  October 11 is National Coming Out Day. This is a day to celebrate members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ+) community who choose to live “out and proud” about who they are and who they love.

This annual celebration goes back to the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. LGBTQ+ communities across America use this day to remember those who were not able to be open about their LGBTQ+ identity and support others in their own journey.

While LGBTQ+ rights have progressed, and more people feel comfortable in their identities in their private lives and at work, it is important to remember that telling others of one’s LGBTQ+ identity, or “coming out” is often a fearful moment. This is different for every LGBTQ+ person, and often it is an experience that happens more than once.

Stigmas remain around revealing one’s LGBTQ+ identity in the workplace. A Harvard Business Review study found that 19% of LGBTQ+ employees feared their careers would be ruined by coming out. Seventy percent of those worried about being socially excluded and making their colleagues uncomfortable. However, those who were out in the workplace reported that they were more engaged and more satisfied with their jobs than those who were not.

LGBTQ+ inclusion is more important than ever as we seek to recruit younger generations into the military and civilian workforce. In a 2022 Gallup poll, 20.8% of Gen Z and 10.5% of Millennials identified as LGBTQ+. A McKinsey survey found that nearly 40% of respondents had rejected a job offer because the workplace was not inclusive. It is important to understand how we can build an inclusive and respectful workplace for all Airmen.

The Air Force Materiel Command LGBTQ+ Initiative Team (LIT) is committed to removing barriers so that AFMC can recruit, retain, and be a model employer for LGBTQ+ Airmen and allies. For anyone struggling with their own coming out or wanting to learn more about how to support someone as they come out at work, the AFMC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility team can help connect you with your local LIT Member/Employee Resource Group. Please email for more information.

Note:  The views expressed here are those of the author. The appearance of hyperlinks do not constitute endorsement by the Defense Media Activity, the United States Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external Web site, or the information, products or services contained therein. ​References to non-federal entities do not constitute or imply Department of Defense or Air Force endorsement of any company or organization.