Statement from GMHC CEO on National Coming Out Day
October 11, 2016 - New York, New York - GMHC released the following statement on National Coming Out Day (NCOD), which was founded on October 11, 1988 by Robert Eichsberg and Jean O’Leary to mark the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Eichberg, who died in 1995 of complications from AIDS, said, in a 1992 interview, “Most people think they don’t know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.”
STATEMENT BY GMHC CEO KELSEY LOUIE:
It pains me to see that last week, Jazz Alford of Alabama became the 22 nd reported transgender homicide in our country. It is heartbreaking to know that 40% of the 1.6 million homeless youth in the United States identify as LGBT. And for many LGBT older adults, they must deal with poverty because of a lifetime of employment discrimination.
We must continue to recognize National Coming Out Day until our society accepts the entire LGBT and gender non-conforming community. Acceptance is not just tolerance and until we reach this point, I fear we will continue to see discrimination, hatred, and inequality.
Coming out is a deeply personal and sometimes difficult decision, but a person does not have to do it alone. Even if only one person is positively affected by National Coming Out Day, I believe we have made a positive influence because no one should have to live in fear, or afraid to be open and true about who they are.
About Gay Men's Health Crisis
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the nation's leading provider of HIV and AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 10,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in New York City, the epicenter of the epidemic in the U.S. As the world's first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing, nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV and AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit www.gmhc.org .
"Reproduced with permission - GMHC"
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