Like many days on the calendar, Oct. 11, has its own set of national days. This particular national day means more to Chad Peacock, president of Pride on The Plains, than many others on the calendar.
It’s National Coming Out Day.
“It’s like you get to come out of this shell and out of this shadow,” Peacock said about coming out. “You get to realize just how many people in this world love you for you. That’s just a minor detail in your life. It [being LGBTQ] doesn’t change anything.”
Peacock came out to his family and friends later in life. After he met his husband, Tim, Peacock said he knew it was time because he saw how unafraid his husband was at being who he was, so he needed to do the same.
After contacting his family and coming out to them, many were wholeheartedly accepting Peacock and his husband. Though he has lost people since he came out, Peacock said he would rather lose people that don’t support him than keep them around.
Coming out to those he loved helped Peacock rediscover himself. It was a huge weight lifted off his shoulders, Peacock said.
“Since I’ve come out, I’ve been less concerned with what people think of me,” said Chad Peacock, president of Pride on The Plains. “I’ve been less concerned with hiding this secret. I’ve gotten truer friends because they know me for me, and they accept me for me.”
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Peacock and many others at Pride on The Plains have been working to promote National Coming Out Day throughout the week. They are trying to lead the way by giving their own coming out stories, Peacock said.
Each day this week, Pride on The Plains has posted coming out stories and words of encouragement to their social media accounts.
The goal was to be on the forefront of National Coming Out Day. They want to lead the way to make everyone feel comfortable, and maybe even encourage a few people thinking of coming out to take the step.
Pride on The Plains Outreach Chair Chris Landry has brought the idea to life.
“Our outreach chair had an idea to do some coming out stories from some of the board members just to kind of recognize its national coming out day, and we should be ahead of the curve,” Peacock said.
The organization has also been giving advice to those thinking of coming out.
As for Peacock, he said people thinking about coming out should only come out when they are ready. Don’t let anyone force it.
“The big thing is don’t let anyone force you into coming out,” Peacock said. “Only you know when you’re ready.”
People considering coming out should make sure they have a place to stay and a way to get money in case those they come out to are not accepting, Peacock said.
However, many more parents are much more accepting now, Peacock has noticed. As more and more children come out to their parents earlier, the culture around coming out is shifting.
But their work isn’t done yet. Pride on The Plains plans to continue to work to support the LGBTQ community in Auburn and Opelika.
As for Peacock, this day is just one step in the right direction. Working with Pride on The Plains to support national coming out day and all those waiting for their time to come out has given him another opportunity to rediscover himself while helping others.
“With my work with Pride on The Plains and being so involved in the LGBTQ community here, it’s everything,” Peacock said. “This is your chance to rediscover yourself.”
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