It was 26 years ago on October 11 that half a million people walked in the March on Washington a second time, fighting for lesbian and gay rights. On the anniversary of that day ever since, LGBT activists have celebrated National Coming Out Day to encourage acceptance and living an open life.

"In our continuing effort to raise awareness, we've expanded NCOD to an entire week during which we will use social media and to feature people not only telling their stories of coming out, but also encouraging people to come out, and allies to support those who take this brave and life-affirming step,” said Elizabeth Halloran, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.

Last year for the 25th anniversary, the HRC themed the day “Coming Out Still Matters” and commemorated the anniversary of gay artist Keith Haring’s iconic artwork of a cartoon character coming out of the closet. This has become the official logo for National Coming Out Day.

"We are also re-releasing our Keith Haring National Coming Out Day t-shirt featuring the artist's iconic image of a person stepping out of a closet,” Halloran said.

Over the years, many celebrities both gay and straight have gotten involved with National Coming Out Day — to name a few, in 1991 Geraldo Rivera hosted a television program with openly gay actors and politicians, Melissa Etheridge produced a radio PSA, a benefit CD was released in 2002 with the likes of K.D. Lang, Sarah McLachlan, Queen and more.

For straight allies, National Coming Out Day is a day that they can let everyone know that they support their gay brothers and sisters. The HRC has a coming out guide for both gay people and allies (

Visit HRC’s website,, for more information.