October 11 marked a special day for the LGBTQ+ community. Best known as International Coming Out Day, this annual awareness day was founded by Jean O’Leary and Rob Eichberg after the march for queer rights in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11, 1987.
Today, International Coming Out Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. To help commemorate this day, as well as drive awareness for the LGBTQ+ community, we spoke to Workmates who help lead our PRIDE at Workday Employee Belonging Council (EBC), and gathered valuable input from two Workday customers, Citrix and Netflix, about the significance of this day and what companies can do to be better allies. See excerpts below to learn what they shared.
The Significance of International Coming Out Day
Steven Smith-Salinas, Workday product manager and global liaison, PRIDE at Workday EBC:
The original intent behind this awareness day is as critical today as it was back when it started—a day that encourages outwardly celebrating and embracing our LGBTQ+ identities. When we share our truth with the world, we have an opportunity to positively influence people around us. We remove our invisibility and help break down the stigmas that surround sexuality, gender, and gender expression of LGBTQ+ people.
Additionally, coming out has related mental health challenges, especially in the workplace, where many people are fearful or anxious and do not feel safe sharing who they truly are. Many do not have the privilege to come out in their workplace without facing discrimination, lack of social acceptance, or limitations in career development and growth.