Yesterday’s National Coming Out Day assumed greater political significance in light of the rash of anti-gay incidents in the New York area; from the bullying of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi; to the gang of nine young Bronx men who allegedly sodomized two teens and a 30-year man; and the bias attacks at the legendary Stonewall Inn and against two men on a Chelsea street.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino made headlines with anti-gay remarks.

“Our youth should not fear coming out,” said Ryan Rockmore, an NYU senior who helped organize a vigil in Washington Square Park last week to honor Clementi and the other gay teens who’ve recently taken their lives due to bullying. “Hopefully the more people that come out, the more accepting and tolerant society will become over time.”

Rockmore — whose school last month ranked fourth on Newsweek’s gay-friendliest schools list — piggybacked the vigil onto a tradition that universities and suicide prevention groups nationwide began last year the week prior to National Coming Out Day called the “You are Loved Chalk Message Project,” where people write encouraging words like, “You are beautiful.”