“The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you’ve just told them.”
― Rachel Maddow
Coming out is not only a critical component of a LGBT individual’s well-being, but of the well-being of the entire LGBT community. Studies show that voters are more likely to support gay rights when they know someone who is gay, as illustrated by this U.S. News and World Report research:
“In a 1993 U.S. News and World Report poll of 1,000 registered voters, 53% said they knew someone who is gay of these, 73% supported equal rights for gays. 46% said they do not know someone who is gay or lesbian; of these, 55% supported the same rights.”
The results of this more recent Gallup poll from May 2009 also show a strong correlation between the number of Americans who support gay rights and the number of Americans who actually know members of the LGBT community. For example, 40% of Americans nationally support gay marriage. This statistic rises to 49% when the subjects know LGBT individuals, and falls to 27% when the subjects are unfamiliar with LGBT individuals.
In order to demonstrate the importance of being out, SC Equality recognizes the achievement of LGBT individuals for their contributions towards equality each year at our Annual Gala. These honorees are South Carolinians who have made a mark. Some are activists whose courage and dedication have influenced our movement. Others are LGBT elected officials, entertainers, or business leaders who have achieved great success.
RESOURCES FOR COMING OUT
Human Rights Campaign
As the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBT Americans, the Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. Founded in 1980, the HRC advocates on behalf of LGBT Americans, mobilizes grassroots actions in diverse communities, invests strategically to elect fair-minded individuals to office, and educates the public about LGBT issues.
HRC’s Coming Out Project | HRC’s Resource Guide to Coming Out
Housing & Mortgages for Gay & Lesbian Couples
This guide will help to explain the different approaches that couples can take to get a home mortgage. Gay and Lesbian couples are in a unique situation when it comes to mortgages and home purchases. The problem lies less in getting a mortgage or purchasing a home than in what happens to the property if the relationship breaks up or one of the partners dies.
GLBT National Help Center
The GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to the needs of the LGBT community and of those questioning their sexual orientation and gender identity. This organization helps end the isolation that many people feel by providing a safe environment to discuss LGBT issues on the phone or via the internet.
GLBT National Hotline: 1-888-843-4564 | GLBT National Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-PRIDE
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
PFLAG is a national non-profit organization with over 200,000 members and supporters and over 500 affiliates in the United States that promotes the health and well-being of LGBT individuals, their families and friends. PFLAG also provides opportunities for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
PFLAG’s Resources for Families, Friends and Members of the LGBT and Transgender Community
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Established in 1990, GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for its positive contribution to more vibrant and diverse communities.
GLSEN’s Coming Out: A Guide for Youth and Their Allies
COLAGE is a national movement of children, youth, and adults with one or more LGBTQ parents. This organization builds communities and works toward social justice through youth empowerment, leadership development, education, and advocacy.
COLAGE’s Equality & Justice for People with LGBT Parents and Their Families
Regional Pride Organizations
Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA)
The Guild — South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Business Guild
Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
PFLAG – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Transgender Supporter Groups
Charleston Area Transgender Support
Charlotte Transgender Alliance
Harriet Hancock LGBT Center – Transgender Support Group
Colleges and Universities
The purpose of a Clemson University President’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Commission is to serve in an advisory capacity to the university administrators, faculty, staff, and students regarding matters which affect the LGBTQ people.
Coastal Carolina Community College
Coastal Alliance: LGTBQIA
The College of Charleston Gay Straight Alliance is an organization here to serve the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer) community at the College of Charleston. We do this through a weekly organizational meeting where we host discussions about LGBT topics as well as attempt to create a support structure for those who may not have known the “queer” community in the past.
The MUSC Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) is an organization of students of all orientations and identities at MUSC designed to provide a sense of community, support, and advocacy for anyone whose real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or alliance may put them in an at risk minority group. The GSA works to organize and assist all students in improving their professional education at MUSC regarding LGBT issues.
LGBT Programs at the University of South Carolina is committed to an inclusive campus for all Gamecocks. Through programs/initiatives such as our annual commUNIY Picnic during Carolina Welcome, to National Coming Out Day, to LGBTQ History Month, Gaypril, our monthly programming Quench and Ally Lunch series, LGBT Programs educates and supports our community.
University of South Carolina – I.R.I.S. (Individuals Respecting Identities and Sexualities)
IRIS (formerly BGLSA) is a social, service, and advocacy organization for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities at the University of South Carolina. Our members consist of bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, straight allies, queer, and questioning students, faculty, and staff. We offer an anonymous forum-style meeting place for discussion of LGBTQ topics affecting the community at large.