There’s no right or wrong way to come out as LGBTQ, but for many people in the community, it’s “the most freeing feeling” in the world.
In honor of National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), officials at VideoOut aimed to highlight the unique experiences of queer people in the advertising world with the colorful compilation clip above. As it turns out, the path toward acceptance has its own advantages and obstacles for each individual.
“I told my sister. I told her when she was driving home from work and she almost crashed her car,” one person recalls. “She did not.” Added another: “It was very hard to just put my foot down and say, ‘I am bi. I date men and I date women.’”
Jordan Reeves, who is the founder and executive director of VideoOut, told HuffPost that coming out remains an important “rite of passage” for LGBTQ people, especially in a political climate that’s adverse to queer rights.
“In a United States full of antigay leaders pushing for antigay policies, I believe coming out is the most powerful political act an LGBTQ person can take,” he said. “It empowers those just starting their journey and affirms the work of those who have fought for LGBTQ equality throughout the years. It is a public declaration that you not only celebrate your difference and embrace it wholeheartedly, but you are prepared to stand up for it and fight equality.”
The New York-based Reeves, 32, launched VideoOut in January 2016, and began collecting video submissions in September that same year. His aim is to have the site be the world’s largest video library of coming out stories. An accompanying editorial platform that “highlights the spectrum of LGBTQ interests and the diversity of people that write about them,” he added, is in the works.
“Our hope is to directly impact communities through our creative activism and grassroots programming,” Reeves, who hails from Alabama, told HuffPost. “We’re working hard so that one day, there won’t have to be advocacy organizations fighting for LGBTQ equality.”
The site’s mission aligns perfectly with that of Grey Advertising, whose employees participated in the video.
“Their stories tell a universal truth: when people can be themselves, accepted without backlash, they can flourish in all ways,” Grey New York CEO Debby Reiner told HuffPost. “That’s what we’re trying to do for our people: help them be themselves so they can continue to be the most creative minds in the business.”
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- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.