Community members express importance of National Coming Out Day
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - People across the country take time to express themselves, as members of the LGBTQIA+ community share their stories on National Coming Out Day.
“You see a lot of the backlash from TV or just hearing people bantering about homosexuality and LGBT communities," LGBTQIA+ activist Felipe Castro said.
Castro lives in the Rockford region but grew up in a Chicago northwest suburb. His family is catholic and of Hispanic heritage. Castro says those pressures contributed to him moving away from his hometown.
“Part of my story that I think is interesting is me moving away from that area just so I can just be myself because I naturally came out after moving," Castro said.
Castro packed his things and moved to Denver, where he says people just knew who he was, but he still had much to tell his friends and family.
“From and early age I knew I was going to date a boy I’m going to date a man later, I have to tell my family about this," Castro said. "Closed-minded areas that’s how it was it was always a man and a woman and that’s what it’s supposed to be.”
In Freeport, the Northwest Illinois Pride Network hosted a national coming out day event where many shared their story.
“I was raised with those beliefs that homosexuality was a sin and you would go to hell for that," LGBTQIA+ activist Nick Nunez said. "As young as 10 years old I remember seeing people of the same sex that I thought were attractive and feeling bad about that.”
Nunez and Castro both say national coming out day is so important because it attacks the negative stigma that keeps people from being themselves.
“I’m really happy we have a coming out day but we should treat every day as a coming out day," Castro said. "We meet new people every day, just talk about it.”
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