Wednesday, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day! Established in 1988, in remembrance of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, National Coming Out Day celebrates and supports those coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or as an ally. The day celebrates those who have come out, while also supporting those who want to live truthfully and openly.
“National Coming Out Day is about celebrating the power of the individual and the power each of us has to make our local communities and the world a safer and more welcoming place” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
Coinciding with that day, Mayor Biskupski presented Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Bruce Bastian, American computer programmer, businessman, philanthropist and social activist, with Keys to the City for their tremendous contributions to Salt Lake City.
The Key to the City is presented to individuals selected by the Mayor who have used their voices, talents, or resources to improve the local community in significant ways. This is only the third time Mayor Biskupski has offered the award, previously honoring local artist Jann Haworth and restauranteur Tom Guinney.
In choosing to honor Kate Kendall and Bruce Bastian, Mayor Biskupski noted their long-time advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community in Utah and across the nation. Both Kate and Bruce have deep ties to the State but have gone on to play national roles in the fight for LGBTQ equality in unique ways.
Bruce Bastian is a graduate of Brigham Young University. After graduating from BYU, Bruce co-founded the software company Wordperfect. After coming out, Bruce devoted himself to philanthropy and activism, using his success to support local and national LGBTQ equality efforts. Most notably is his support of the Human Rights Campaign and the campaign against Prop 8 in California. Bruce currently resides in Orem.
“In empowering others to be true to themselves and live openly, Bruce has been instrumental in advancing equality from coast to coast,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “For decades, Bruce created a safe space for LGBTQ people at home and through his generosity, helped make Utah an epicenter of the LGBTQ movement. Bruce invested in a movement which could work in Utah, because he understood, you can’t have an LGBTQ movement, if it doesn’t work in a place like Utah.”
Kate Kendell is a native Utahn and received her J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law. As the first staff attorney for the ACLU of Utah, she directly litigated many high-profile cases focusing on all aspects of civil liberties. For twenty years, Kate has served as the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, working to advance the civil and human rights of the LGBTQ community across the country. NCLR served as co-counsel in Kitchen v. Herbert the landmark Utah marriage equality case, and recently partnered with Equality Utah to overturn Utah’s so-called “No Promo Homo” which was repealed by the Utah legislature in March in response to a federal lawsuit.
“Kate has been a driving force behind the strategy which has transformed the legal landscape for LGBTQ people across the country,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Though her work is national, Kate has never forgotten where she is from, using her considerable talent and knowledge to ensure LGBTQ Utahns are thoroughly protected.”
30% of LGBTQ Youth report not coming out because they fear their family would not be accepting. LGBTQ youth who are out to immediate family and friends report being more happy. One out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian.
Every person who speaks up helps to change the rhetoric, ultimately creating new advocates for equality!
For resources on coming out or being an ally visit: