For many LGBTQ people, coming out of the closet is a monumental step in their lives. The first International Coming Out Day was organised in the United States in 1988, held on 11 October to mark the anniversary of gay rights activists marching on Washington D.C. in the year prior. Since then it has been a red-letter day for activists. But the day doesn’t impress all – opponents from within the community have struck it down; claiming an obsession with forcing people to come out of the closet is unhealthy, citing pressure put on stars like Ricky Martin to open up about their sexuality. This year’s Coming Out Day comes as global gay rights take a dark backward step, as the Ugandan government plans to criminalise the “promotion and recruitment” of homosexuality with the death penalty. Same-sex acts are already illegal in the east African country – which threatens a life sentence – along with many nations across large parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.