National Coming Out Day was first celebrated in 1988 on the one-year anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. This day serves to celebrate the courage it takes to share an important part of your personal life with others, to celebrate those who may decide to come out, and to celebrate being true to who you are.
It is not a day to shame or force those who have yet to come out. This is an important distinction to make because not all people feel as if it is safe for them (physically or emotionally) to come out. By showing solidarity and support, we can help people feel seen as who they are.
The hope is that one day, coming out for the LGBTQ+ community will no longer be such a struggle. People will no longer feel as if they are exposing themselves or confessing to something, rather that they are simply embracing who they are and sharing that fact.