National Coming Out Day
Participants dance under a rainbow flag during the annual gay pride parade march in BelgradeReuters

National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an awareness day held on 11 October celebrating and encouraging members of the LGBTQ community to reveal their sexuality to friends and family. This year has seen a sharp rise in the number of young people who identify as not being heterosexual.

According to a YouGov survey, 49% of 18-24 year-olds in Britain define themselves as something other than completely heterosexual. A reflection of a new attitude of coming out as non-heterosexual is characterised by Miley Cyrus.

The Wrecking Ball singer said: "I'm very open about it," Cyrus told Elle UK. "I'm pansexual. But I'm not in a relationship. I'm 22, I'm going on dates, but I change my style every two weeks, let alone who I'm with.

"I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn't involve an animal and everyone is of age," Cyrus said in an interview with Paper Magazine. "Everything that's legal, I'm down with. Yo, I'm down with any adult — anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl."

Many celebrities choose public events to make their coming out speeches or have posted them on YouTube, which are viewed by millions of people. US twin actors and models Austin And Aaron Rhodes video clip coming out to their father had 20.5 million views on YouTube.

"We think it is time to finally just be ourselves," they said. "We hope by our actions today you can finish watching this video feeling encouraged and inspired. Thank you for all the support. We love you."

Actress Ellen Page's coming out video has received 5.3 million views. The Juno star recently criticised Matt Damon's views on keeping quiet about sexual preferences. The Martian actor said: "Whether you're straight or gay, people shouldn't know anything about your sexuality because that's one of the mysteries that you should be able to play."

Page told the Independent: "He [Damon] doesn't have a point because he related it to sexuality. Heterosexual actors and actresses do not have to go to great lengths to hide their sexuality.

"Yes, of course, keep your private life private. Protect yourself. Have boundaries. When you're a public person, you need to think about your safety. But if it's in relation to sexuality, then no –that's an unfair double standard. Heterosexual people walk down the red carpet with their partners all the time, they talk about their children."

"The history of the LGBT movement shows the true power our stories have to change hearts and minds," said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. "In the decades since Harvey Milk first urged every LGBT person to come out to our family, friends, neighbors and coworkers, we've caused the opposition to equality to fall away.

"As more and more people continue to speak their truth, we're inching closer to a day where no LGBT person ever feels compelled to hide who they are out of fear. National Coming Out Day is helping us reach that moment."

Or as Oscar Wilde put it: "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."