This is a sidebar to the following blog: “Time for Coaching to Come Out and Embrace Diversity”

As a presenter at ACTO’s conference, I offered research on unlearning to cultivate openness for cultural issues. I also realized three unique attributes of our LGBTQ community, which I’d like to share as a step toward better understanding some of these issues.

First, we must come out. And we must do it repeatedly, with each interaction, to constitute ourselves. Telling our truth is an act of dignity.

  1. In 1988, the LGBTQ community launched the annual Coming Out Day on October 11. This important activism put faces to our issues, as notable ones started coming out each year.
  2. The 1980s also revealed the cost of not coming out, of embracing the fear of the closet. Hence, the ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) slogan “Silence = Death.”
  3. Recently, the story “Gay Suicides Are On The Rise” highlighted the struggle of gay and bisexual men in Canada to come out within society’s newfound opposition.

Second, we have no family for us to learn from. LGBTQ children do not learn how to cope with being gay (LGBTQ). Unlike families in other minority groups, ours cannot offer a shared experience, historic reference or common heritage.

1 – When we are young, we do not hear from our family, “This is how it was when I was young. This how you manage the hatred.” We must fill that missing void on our own, which can be horribly isolating.

2 – According to the Trevor Project, “40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide, 92% before the age of 25. LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.”

Third, we’re a community of communities. Every community—whether Black, Latino, Asian, first peoples, differently abled, male or female—has LGBTQ members. When we come out, we have a second journey to become part of a diverse community of communities.

Consider, The Human Experience in Infinite — an unscientific survey of more than 5000 by the New York Times on sexual and gender identity.

Often, such diversity results in a backlash from the dominant culture. Just this last week, the Gay and Lesbians Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) presented a second two-year survey. Tolerance for LGBTQ among 18- to 34-year-olds has decreased in America:

— 36% of young people said they were uncomfortable learning a family member was LGBTQ, compared with 29% in 2017.

— 34% were uncomfortable learning their doctor was LGBTQ vs. 27% in 2017.

— 39% were uncomfortable learning their child had a school lesson on LGBTQ history vs. 30% in 2017.


tony-zampella-headshot Tony Zampella is the learning designer at Bhavana Learning Group (previously, Zampella Group), which serves coaches, learning professionals and business executives. As an instructor, researcher, and designer of contemplative learning programs and practices, his work develops mindsets for growing a culture of servant leaders.

His focus includes ontological inquiry, into the nature of being; Integral theory to include Eastern wisdom and practice with Western learning and business models; and, Zen Buddhism to sustain contemplative practices.