Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic might have impacted how the rainbow ribbon was displayed this year, but it hasn't affected the reach and awareness as the Long Island-based LGBT Network helps more than a million participants worldwide gather in the virtual world Friday as part of the 19th annual National Coming Out Day campaign, LGBT Network CEO and founder David Kilmnick said.
Friday's event involved people from across the United States, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Mexico and South Africa, not to mention businesses, institutions and educators — including the Northwell Health Care system and students from more than 300 schools on Long Island, New York City and a total of 23 states, Kilmnick said.
To engage communities "to take a stand against the discrimination, violence, harassment, and bullying of LGBT people by coming out in support of safe spaces where they LIVE, LEARN, WORK, PLAY and PRAY," according to the LGBT Network website. To that goal, Kilmnick said Friday, "We created a world of virtual tools this year [due to the pandemic] … A way to come out and be visible. Instead of wear the rainbow, this year it's become rep the rainbow."
Kilmnick and the LGBT Network have made certain the rainbow was prominent in the virtual world — with the creation of #RepTheRainbow links to a number of social media platforms.
Kilmnick said the virtual coming out gathering, central to a series of weeklong and monthlong awareness events, had included as many outside the LGBT community as it had those inside it.