Mental Health and LGBTQ+ officials speak on National Coming Out Day
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - National Coming Out Day is a day where the LGBTQ+ community is celebrated. The day was created in 1988 to commemorate the 1987 March on Washington, and over three decades later, on the 33rd anniversary, the day has turned into an annual celebration to acknowledge LGBTQ people and to raise awareness for for equality.
“I am looking forward to working with them and seeing what we can do for the community in the future,” said ALSO Youth Outreach Coordinator Christine Grossman.
National Coming Out Day is a reminder to Grossman that her own story is important. “It was not a very accepted or embraced moment,” said Grossman.
Grossman said she was outed when she was in high school and that experience led her on the journey to find herself, and after that, she set out to make a difference.
“I want to work within the community to empower, to enable those youth who don’t feel comfortable within themselves,” said Grossman.
Not being yourself can be detrimental to your health, says Laura Cunningham, a licensed mental health counselor. Events like the National Coming Out Day can be liberating.
“The idea of living with a mask, meaning pretending to be something you are not all day, and especially pretending to be something you’re not to people who are very close to you, is very alienating and isolating,” said Cunningham.
She said over the years there have been more advancements for those who might be struggling with their mental health in the LGBTQ community.
‘When I was coming out or back in the day, there was no mental health support for LGBTQ+ issues,” said ALSO Youth Executive Director Mickey Stone.
As for Grossman, even though things are different than back then, She said she is grateful for a position that allows for her to make a change and work within the community.
“I am very grateful for this position in the community as well and the opportunity the educate individuals on inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community.”
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