ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – Monday was National Coming Out Day, a day for many to celebrate their true identities.
The Liam Foundation, an organization in Downtown Rockford that helps LGBTQ residents, said that it is not always easy for some to acknowledge their identity openly, and they hope that by continuing the conversation about sexual identity, National Coming Out Day can help to create a more inclusive stateline.
Scottie Welch, the Vice President and Founder of The Liam Foundation, said that she believes people have become more accepting in recent years, but it can still be intimidating to come out to friends and family.
“People around the world can see that it’s okay being LGBTQ, and it’s okay to be yourself, and to see other people like them coming out, to let them know they’re not alone,” Welch said. “I think it causes a lot of stress to not be our authentic self, that we have to continuously be scared someone is going to figure out something about us, and they may not accept us, and we might lose a job.”
National Coming Out Day is a time to celebrate all of those who have made the decision to be open with loved ones about their sexual orientation, and Welch believes finding a safe space to talk about what a person is going through before coming out to friends and family can be a big help.
She suggested that people take advantage of local organizations that bring LGBTQ individuals together.
“When we finally are able to allow people to know who we are, and we’re embraced and loved, it takes away so much of our stress, and we get to live a much happier and healthier life,” Welch said. “Having a big support group, having love and acceptance even before you come out, I think will be a huge change in the way that happens for you, and may be even less trauma that you may encounter.”
The Liam Foundation is hosting a Gala fundraiser on October 29.