This week's Spitback Saturday feature celebrates National Coming Out Day, which comes around every October 11. The day was created in 1988 to mark the anniversary of the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights the previous year. It is meant, akin to making resolutions on the New Year, to provide that extra impetus to stop putting off coming "out of the closet" to one's family, friends, co-workers, or the world, as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. As more people have been made aware of their friends and loved ones who are LGBT, acceptance of what was once a castigated, persecuted minority has grown tremendously.
You might think that as a gay political cartoonist, I'd have drawn something for NCOD every October, in which case you'd be wrong. Congress is back from vacation, elections are just around the corner, the Supreme Court is announcing the cases it will take up for the session, and people are taking note of new television shows.
Tying NCOD in to current events usually turns out awkwardly, as with this 2001 effort:
This cartoon was drawn in September for October release, and if you remember the mood of the country at the time, many of us weren't sure we had permission to be funny yet. Nobody knew whether there would be another big terrorist attack, we were going to war in Afghanistan, and someone was mailing anthrax to NBC News and Democrats in Congress. I never particularly liked this cartoon; it just wasn't the right time for LGBT activists to push our issues. Nor was it the right time for homophobes to push theirs, so I quickly went back to criticizing them for trying.
Attempts like that cartoon to strike a serious note turn maudlin over time, and since that's not the mood I'd like to end this blog entry with, I'm going to skip ahead several years to a totally different approach to National Coming Out Day from 2010:
So have a very merry National Coming Out Day, all you last-minute shoppers! God bless us, every one.