LONGVIEW - In 1988 the LGBTQ community led a march in Washington for lesbian and gay rights. Since then, October 11 is recognized as 'National Coming Out Day'. For some, the day has been treated as a way to muster enough courage to finally be honest with people around them.
Christopher Manley 'came out' in California and he described his experience to be lucky. He told his friends before his family. When it was time to tell his mother, he said it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be.
"It was easier for me, they told me that they still love me," Manley said.
However, every experience isn't the same. Robert Phillips is the pastor of Woodland church, it's the only opening and affirming church in East Texas. Phillips described his coming out experience to be traumatizing.
"I was one of those people it was everything I feared it would be," Phillips said.
Phillips said he lost friends, changed his career and suffered depression. However, he said the National day to him means bravery.
"It took every bit of courage and then some," Phillips said. "If it weren't for faith I wouldn't be able to do it."
Both Phillips and Manley said it's difficult for people for some to come out in East Texas.
"Every single day I feel kids are afraid to be themselves because their family won't love them any more," Manley said.
Manley said it's important for people to be open minded more than tolerant of their peers. ," d. d.