Tag Archives: Human Rights

Understanding National Coming Out Day

Coming Out

Diversity creates strength. Whether we agree with someone else’s opinion, beliefs, way of life or sexual orientation, there’s no doubt about it, the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same. One particular day has proved to cause quite a stir in society within the United States, and that is National Coming Out Day, observed every October 11th since 1988.

National Coming Out Day serves to support the rights of gay and lesbian citizens throughout the country. The day, and its surrounding events, are meant to increase awareness and recognition of members of gay and lesbian communities in cites and towns across America. In 1987, half a million people marched in Washington D.C. to promote the rights of gay people everywhere in the country, no matter their age, race or religious belief systems. ‘Coming Out’ is the process of going public with individual homosexuality, a term that encourages those with such tendencies to quit hiding behind closed doors and to embrace who they are with pride and dignity.

Human Rights is one of the foundation blocks upon which America was built, and it stands to reason that the rights of every individual are protected under the United States Constitution, regardless of age, color and yes, even sexual preferences. While homosexuality has not always been so openly discussed as it is these days, public awareness of it and, to some degree, acceptance, has come a long way since the 1980s, when founders Dr. Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary organized the first march on Washington D.C. for gay and lesbian equality. Observed by all members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organization, National Coming Out Day encourages its members to represent all ages and ethnic groups who fight for equality in the workplace, educational facilities and in private sectors of American communities.

Members of LGBT, as well as all members of communities around the country, celebrate the day with parades and civic events. The first National Coming Out Day was celebrated in eighteen states and was covered on national television stations and talk shows. Since then, states around the country have been added to the list. The day originated in an effort to confront anti-gay legislation and laws that began to sprout up in the 1970s and early 1980s, as well as to address issues of gay-bashing and discrimination in all sectors of American culture and society. Since then, laws have been passed that protect the rights of those with different lifestyles, no matter what they may be, and the public has become somewhat more understanding of gay lifestyles. Religious organizations, for the most part, don’t participate in National Coming Out Day events, and continue to be outspoken about the lifestyle.

Throughout the country, millions of people gather every year to march in parades on National Coming Out Day, which has not been designated an official holiday, though people everywhere are aware of its presence due to widespread media coverage. The main focus of the day is to promote awareness of different lifestyles and to encourage understanding and peace between those of different beliefs within communities. Since its advent, the National Coming Out Project has helped to offer resources not only to gay couples, but also their family and friends. Whether or not people agree with or condone a gay lifestyle, every American has a right to live in peace and without fear. While it does not seek to specify which lifestyle is right or wrong, the Coming Out Day project and the recognition of Coming Out Day does promote a ‘live and let live’ philosophy and attempts to promote enough understanding and knowledge to ensure that American citizens everywhere are protected by laws against discrimination, physical and emotional abuse.

Recognizing Idaho Human Rights Day

Idaho Human Rights

Since the turmoil of the 1950s and the 1960s Civil Rights movements throughout the United States, America has come a long way to recognizing and ensuring that all Americans are treated equally, despite the color of their skin, their heritage or their beliefs.

The state of Idaho created a human rights commission that has sought to provide such equality and rights to not only non-Caucasian citizens, but those over forty who have been discriminated against in areas of employment as well as those who have physical disabilities. Their commission is dedicated to ensuring that all people, ‘regardless of race, sex, color, religion or national origin, disabled or over forty’ are not discriminated against.

Driving such an effort is massive education endeavors in schools, starting at the elementary school level and reaching into college classrooms. Voluntary compliance of their mission goals is obtained mainly through educational and community efforts that seek to alleviate the difficulties unique to any age group or race within the state of Idaho. One of the biggest challenges the commission faces is the elimination of any discrimination based on their founding factors. Nevertheless, the continued influx of minority population groups in Idaho, as well as throughout the United States, as well as the number of Idaho residents who live at or below the poverty level continues to climb. Efforts to provide community and state aid to every resident of Idaho is one of their major goals, as is introducing federal anti-discrimination laws that will ensure that people over forty, no matter what the color of their skin or native language, have employment opportunities well into their sixties.

Idaho Human Rights Day is a day to celebrate diversity and heritage, dreams and inspirations. Leaders of the Human Rights Commission come from all walks of life, from state government workers to teachers, to religious workers and business owners. Students as well as housewives all have a say in determining the course of their state when it comes to equal and basic human rights for all residents of Idaho, regardless of skin and language barriers. The members of the board are as diverse as the people they represent, and are mixed ethnically and spiritually. Despite differences however, they serve as a model to what they are attempting to achieve, and that is a state that holds no resident back from equality and gainful employment.

The commission encourages public participation on local, county and state levels and offers seminars and events that serve to perpetuate their mission and goals. Idaho school districts teach children of all school age levels that with diversity comes strength and unity. They promote activities in schools that are geared to celebrating differences in backgrounds, cultures and languages for the betterment of not only the state of Idaho, but also America.

Idaho Human Rights Day, celebrated every January 15th, has served as an example to many additional states around the country, and is a leader in their dedication to providing equal education, housing and employment opportunities for all. Despite past history in both Idaho and throughout the country, anti-discrimination laws and behaviors continue to change for the betterment of all. While such goals are not without risks and continue to cause strife for many, the determination of Idaho’s state government is a shining example for all.

Human Rights don’t merely belong to those who hold power in any country, but every human being on the planet. The United States has come a long way in providing equality for all Americans, but has a long way to go to ensuring that every American is protected and covered by laws, regulations and guidelines that allows each citizen of the United States to follow the dreams of the founding fathers; the right to the pursuit of happiness.