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National Coming Out Day: LGBTQ+ Voices in the African American Community

Oct 11, 2023 10:00AM ● By Anand Subramanian
Photo by Anete Lusina


National Coming Out Day is an annual observance celebrated on October 11th to support and empower individuals within the LGBTQ+ community as they share their authentic selves with the world. It's a day for celebration, awareness, and advocacy, recognizing the courage and strength it takes for individuals to come out to their friends, family, and society at large. In this blog, we'll explore the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals within the African-American community, highlighting their challenges and resilience.

The Intersection of Race and Sexual Orientation

Coming out as LGBTQ+ can be a challenging journey for anyone, but for African Americans, this process often involves an additional layer of complexity due to the intersection of their racial identity and sexual orientation. In a society historically marginalized for African Americans and the LGBTQ+ community, the experience of being a Black LGBTQ+ person is unique.

Challenges Faced by African American LGBTQ+ Individuals

  1. Double Discrimination: African American LGBTQ+ individuals often experience double discrimination, facing prejudice and discrimination not only based on their sexual orientation but also on their race. This can lead to feelings of isolation and marginalization within both communities.

  2. Religious and Cultural Factors: Some African American communities are deeply rooted in religious and cultural traditions that may not accept LGBTQ+ identities. This can create significant tension and emotional strain for individuals who want to come out.

  3. Lack of Visibility: Despite the significant contributions of African American LGBTQ+ activists and artists like Marsha P. Johnson and Audre Lorde, there is still a lack of representation and visibility for this community in mainstream media and society.

  4. Health Disparities: African American LGBTQ+ individuals may face disparities in healthcare access and outcomes due to discrimination and bias within the healthcare system, leading to physical and mental health differences.

Photo by Uriel Mont

Resilience and Empowerment

Despite these challenges, the African-American LGBTQ+ community has a long history of resilience and empowerment. Many individuals and organizations work tirelessly to create safe spaces, foster understanding, and advocate for equal rights. Here are some examples of their resilience:

  1. Activism: African American LGBTQ+ activists, like Bayard Rustin and Angela Davis, have played pivotal roles in the civil rights and LGBTQ+ rights movements, challenging systemic discrimination and advocating for equality.

  2. Community Support: LGBTQ+ organizations and support groups within the African-American community provide safe spaces for individuals to connect, share experiences, and find support from others who understand their unique struggles.

  3. Representation: Increased representation of African American LGBTQ+ individuals in media, such as shows like "Pose" and "Moonlight," helps challenge stereotypes and broaden public understanding.

  4. Education and Advocacy: Many organizations and advocates work to educate both the African American and LGBTQ+ communities about the intersection of these identities and the importance of acceptance and inclusion.


National Coming Out Day is a time to celebrate the courage and authenticity of LGBTQ+ individuals within the African-American community. While they face unique challenges, their resilience and determination continue to positively impact society. We all need to support and amplify their voices, working towards a future where acceptance, love, and equality are extended to everyone, regardless of race or sexual orientation.

 Anand Subramanian is a freelance photographer and content writer based out of Tamil Nadu, India. Having a background in Engineering always made him curious about life on the other side of the spectrum. He leapt forward towards the Photography life and never looked back. Specializing in Documentary and  Portrait photography gave him an up-close and personal view into the complexities of human beings and those experiences helped him branch out from visual to words. Today he is mentoring passionate photographers and writing about the different dimensions of the art world.

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