Professor Paula Gerber on National Coming Out Day

national coming out day paula gerber
Image by Keith Haring, from

In the lead up to National Coming Out Day on 11 October, Monash University academic Professor Paula Gerber says we need to “raise awareness and change attitudes.”

“Having laws that protect LGBTIQ from discrimination is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle.”

First celebrated in 1988, National Coming Out Day celebrates the power of visibiity.

The Human Rights Campaign says, “Coming out as LGBTQ+ STILL MATTERS. When people know someone who is LGBTQ+, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories can be powerful to each other.”

Since 1988, our communities achieved substantial progress in many countries. However, Professor Gerber describes National Coming Out Day as more important than ever.

“Some people might think that now same-sex couples can marry, there is no longer any need for a National Coming Out Day. But young LGBTIQ people today continue to suffer significant mental health problems because of the discrimination and vilification they still experience. Sometimes this is even sanctioned by law, for example, in religious schools.”


“COVID-19 makes National Coming Out Day more important than ever. Connection to community and peer support have been found to have an important protective effect for LGBTIQ people.

“Restrictions and lockdowns, which are necessary public health measures, increase the isolation of LGBTIQ people, sometimes in homes with family members who are not accepting of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Professor Gerber says Australia can do more to increase respect for LGBTIQ people.

“Lore protection for children in same-sex families, allowing donor siblings to find and know each other, raising education and awareness about bisexuality and banning gender normalising surgery on intersex children.”

Professor Paula Gerber

An internationally renowned legal scholar, Professor Paula Gerber focuses on global human rights law. She also manages providing information about the law in countries that still criminalise homosexuality.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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