BRENTWOOD - Today is National Coming Out Day, when people are encouraged to open up about their sexual orientation, but for many, telling the truth about themselves can still be difficult.

Daniel Duffey, a student at Suffolk Community College, says he was bullied in high school for being gay until one day he had enough.

"I stood up in one of my classes and I said, 'I'm gay, and calling me a faggot is not going to hurt me anymore,'" he says.

In an effort to spread the message of acceptance, every year on Oct. 11, Duffey hands out rainbow ribbons to his classmates.

Meanwhile, Nassau's first Gay and Lesbian Community Center will open its doors Friday in Garden City.

David Kilmnick, the CEO of the organization L.I.G.A.L.Y., says progress has been made with the legalization of gay marriage in New York and the end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military. Still, he says there's a lot of work to be done in schools, where some gay teens are being driven to suicide.