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Today, on October 11, we celebrate the International Coming Out Day. Initially it appeared as a national holiday in the United States, but soon LGBT people all over the world started to celebrate the ICOD. The celebration took start on October 11, 1987, when more than 500,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Washington demanding equal rights for LGBT people.

Coming out is a process when a person opens up about his, her, their sexual orientation and gender identity. The initiators of the celebration in the United States defined their goal as to get society acquainted with the LGBT community.

The celebration of ICOD allows to reduce the possible negative consequences of coming out for relatives, friends of the person, and for the LGBT person through raising awareness about the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as about the process of their acceptance.

Here are 5 tips on how to make coming out easier and stay safe:

1. Think about your own safety

This is one of the most important issues regarding coming outs: given the high level of homophobia and transphobia in society, talking about your sexual orientation and gender identity can sometimes be simply unsafe.

2. Reach out for help

Coming out is not an easy step, and you have every right to ask for help from friends or professionals. You can consult a psychologist at an LGBT organization for free. A specialist will help you plan a conversation with others, take into account possible pitfalls, and take precautions where it may be required.

3. Think of what you are going to say

As with any difficult conversation, it is better to prepare for coming out in advance. Think about what you will say and how. It is worth thinking about and planning the form (a personal meeting or a letter) and a convenient time for a conversation. You cannot talk about such things on the run.

4. Consider if it takes time to adapt

Gendered Intelligence advises to remember that loved ones of a transgender person may take time to get used to the changes after coming out.

5. Remember that there is nothing to be ashamed of

Remember that explaining your identity is not something you should be ashamed of. There is no need to make excuses and think that you did something terrible.