Tuesday, October 11, marks the 34th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, an annual observance to raise awareness of the interests and rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Arlington Public Library is honoring this date by displaying Pride flags.
Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh
As a gay person, National Coming Out Day holds personal significance.
The below message was originally published three years ago, but it all remains true. In fact, it seems more than ever, the LGBTQIA+ community is threatened. Book bans are on the rise. A public library in Michigan was defunded following a controversy over LGBTQIA+ books.
I take it personally when we discover pages in our Library’s children’s books about gay moms and dads which have been deliberately torn or defaced.
I take it personally when a patron writes me and tells me that the Library’s Pride Month book displays promote sexually deviant behavior.
And I take it personally when a patron threatens to trash a branch library because it has displayed the Pride flag.
As an Arlington County leader, my support of National Coming Out Day means that I encourage Library staff to show up at work as they truly are — proudly and without fear of consequence.
As a public library director, National Coming Out Day reminds me that each day in a library is coming out day. Libraries are judgment free zones — safe spaces that welcome all who enter their doors, regardless of beliefs, preferences, country of origin, age, income status or appearance.
And as a gay person, National Coming Out Day affirms a commitment I made to myself: to respect and honor my choices and to be who I am, this day and every day.
Arlington Public Library: Always Free. Always Open. Always Welcoming to Everyone.
Director, Arlington Public Library