Sunday is International Coming Out Day


national_coming_out_day_2015Sunday 11 October marks International Coming Out Day, which aims to celebrate being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ), promote awareness of LGBTQ issues and support those who have yet to ‘come out’.

“Coming out, the process of personally accepting one’s sexual orientation and disclosing it to family, co-workers and friends, is an incredible act of bravery,” says Nina Morris Lee, Head of Marketing at the Anova Health Institute, an NGO dedicated to improving health of all South Africans with particular emphasis on HIV.

“It takes great courage to risk the stigma still surrounding being LGBTQ, and to live your authentic life in the face of possible discrimination by the community, friends and even family. It’s this bravery that we, through our recently launched We The Brave campaign applaud, and encourage everyone to tap into, in order to make healthy sexual choices, such as having the courage to insist on a condom, and to get tested regularly in order to know your status – regardless of whether you are in the closet or out.”

An important aspect of the campaign, spearheaded by Anova and their Health4Men project, funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, has been to tell the brave stories of several high profile campaign champions. The purpose of these Brave Stories being to hero the bravery inherent to the MSM community, and to encourage those who need a little support to find theirs.

Not surprisingly, many of the Brave Stories have centred on coming out, as has one of the campaign videos, which went viral due to its humorous take on the “coming out” moment (see it below).

Cameron Modisane, who famously tied the knot in what was the first ever traditional African gay wedding, says, “I used to think that my life would end the day I came out. Instead, today, I live a rich life with an added dimension of emotional depth that I could not imagine before I took that leap of faith to live an open life about my sexuality with those that are dear to me. When I faced the truth of who I really was, my life began to take on an entirely new look. No matter how hard it might be to be openly gay, it is the path toward being authentic. Living a lie has never and will never be a pretty sight. Are you brave enough to come out? I certainly am brave enough to live an authentic life.”

Mr Gay South Africa finalist Siya Khumalo shares, “If people can’t see who you are, then they can’t see your halo. That’s why I came out and continue coming out.”

Founder and Director of Gays and Lesbians of Rustenburg (GLOR), Katlego Pule James Chibamba, concurs, “I started living the day I came out to myself. Not to my family, nor the world, but me. I owed it to no other person but me and it was then that I understood what it meant to be brave. Today I know I am The Brave.”

“On this day, set aside on the global calendar to recognise coming out, we at Health4Men celebrate and applaud brave choices and actions being taken daily, and encourage the translation of this bravery into safe sexual behaviour,” says Morris Lee.

To read more about how these and other men were #BraveEnough to come out as well as to find out more about the campaign, visit or follow it on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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