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Half a million people participated in the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on this date in 1987. The following year, Dr. Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary founded National Coming Out Day, which is observed annually on October 11th. Eichberg was a Brooklyn-born psychologist who lived in Los Angeles and New Mexico until his death from complications from AIDS in 1995. He was the author ofComing Out: An Act of Love (1990), “required reading” for the friends and families of gay people.

“Most people think they don’t know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.” —Robert Eichberg