Celebrate National Coming Out Day with Avaya!
Thirty-three years ago, on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the U.S. first observed National Coming Out Day as a reminder of the power and activism of coming out to family, friends, and colleagues – living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. This is an important day for those in the community. Be proud of who you are and your support for LGBTQIA+ equality this Coming Out Day!
This day was founded to give people a voice to be heard, and it is just as important in 2021 as in 1988 when it was first established. Coming out – whether as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, or questioning – still matters. When people know someone who is LGBTQIA+, they are far more likely to support equality and advocate for their legal rights. Beyond that, there’s power in hearing each other’s stories and connecting through them.
This day exists to extinguish the silence where homophobia thrives, celebrating those in the LGBTQIA+ community (including allies) who have used their voice to feel heard, to combat discrimination, and to educate and inform. There’s plenty more work to do and still a long way to go, but with each passing day, things get better because we continue to speak up and share our truth. As a gay man, I’m deeply encouraged by that.
This is a very meaningful day for those who choose to celebrate by coming out – be it personally, professionally, or both. It can feel especially difficult to come out professionally because of what that might mean in the workplace; how peers or leadership might perceive us. Employee resource groups like the one we have at Avaya are crucial for supporting employees who are out or considering coming out. If you haven’t come out yet, know that you are valued and that your journey should always be respected. The decision is a very personal one to make. If you work at Avaya, know that you are welcome and safe here.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are tantamount to Avaya’s culture. If there’s one thing I would encourage people to do – whether you’re already out, considering coming out, or an ally – it’s to simply listen and be present. A popular saying goes: a person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen, and a hand willing to help others.
From us to you, happy National Coming Out Day!