India is an LGBT minister with a passion for promoting LGBT rights.
What Does It Mean to "Out" Someone as Gay?
Outing someone remains a taboo and a social faux pas surrounding the rights of a gay person to keep their sexuality concealed. In these modern times, you would think that keeping such things quiet—being gay or lesbian—would not be a big deal. In reality, it can be a huge deal for some gay individuals, and in some instances, a dangerous game of life or death.
Is Outing Someone Considered Sabotage?
Human sexuality is a very personal and private issue that remains a very hot topic among the homosexual as well as the heterosexual communities. From far left to far right, the political, religious, and social correctness varies widely. Today, we will be taking a close look at some of the reasons people have for believing outing someone who is gay is the proper thing to do, while others find it to be a complete and utter act of personal and social sabotage.
Outing Gays From an Insider's Point Of View
As a card-carrying "out" lesbian, I have a pretty significant point of view when it comes to outing someone's sexuality. In our LGBT community, outing is a pretty big no-no. However, even among our own population, the debate can get heated.
Some homosexuals consider outing as a political duty, having the attitude of, "if you are going to be it, live it." Well, in reality, this live out loud mentality simply can't work for everyone. Many LGBT people have perfectly legitimate reasons for staying in the closet, here are just a few of those very real reasons.
Reasons for Not Coming Out as Gay
- Threat of death or violence
- Living in a dangerous (bigoted/prejudiced) environment
- Fear of being excommunicated from church community
- Being exiled from family due to lack of acceptance
- Loss of job security, discrimination laws not followed
- Social ruin in certain circles
- Late homosexual awareness in a hetero marriage
If you think about it, any one of these reasons would be good enough to remain a closeted person. The safety of one's physical, mental, social, familial, and religious well-being has a meaningful impact. Even if only perceived as a threat in these areas, the process of keeping confidentiality around sexuality has to be honored. Without this respect, should things go wrong and harm occurs, the liability surrounding those who encourage hate crimes (even unknowingly) these days can become a shocking and life-changing event of a whole different kind.
Strength in Numbers: Why It's Important to Come Out as LGBT
As the gay community struggles to fight for equal rights in all things, it has never been more important to be counted. For today's youth who are discovering who they are, this is especially important. As the older generation, adult gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people have an obligation to blaze a trail of safety and acceptance. We are responsible for leaving behind a legacy of worthiness.
As a female, every time I walk up to a voting booth to be counted, I thank those strong, brave women of the suffrage movement for their belief that they deserved equal rights. I want our LGBT young adults to have this same feeling of gratitude and awareness when they say, "I DO," or when they undertake any other practice that may currently be denied our community.
What You Think Really Does Matter!
Differing Views Among Religious Leaders
Even among the religious leaders of our time, we find some broad and varying views on outing gays. If you are an LGBT minister (as am I), you struggle with the concept of other ministers who teach a congregation that being homosexual will have negative results on their access to a promising afterlife. What the congregation is unaware of is that their very proper straight and married minister spends his spare time fondling other dudes.
More than once, we have been the surprised victims of those who would hide behind religious hate for gays while living a secret life of homosexuality themselves. So, in this case, is it okay to "out" such hypocrisy? I shout a resounding "YES"! Now, I am sure that several religious leaders would beg-to-differ with me on this point . . . and for their own personal reason, I would imagine.
More an Intervention Than an Outing
Here is the thing—if you have such self-loathing for who you were born to be, and if it differs so very much from your chosen profession's belief system, then maybe it isn't the gay thing that's the problem. This kind of hypocrisy becomes hate very quickly. If your religion says gays are bad, then my recommendation would be (if you are gay) don't pick it as your career choice!
Hate in Sheep's Liturgical Garments
Nurturing hate due to the things you can't accept in yourself is an illness that requires treatment. Being gay is NOT the illness; the illness is the hate. This flawed personality type should not be leading a religious movement of any kind. In my opinion, outing this kind of harmful person is more of an intervention than it is an outing.
When we consider how this person has cast hate throughout a congregation for profit or self-worship and the number of silent suffering youth who may be residing in this church, the damage becomes unmeasurable. The sad thing regarding this personality type is that he is not the only one who gets hurt; his church and beyond feels this destruction and betrayal. When this clergyman is outed, it is sure to end his career, but it can also ruin his home life, social status, and of course, his romantic future. It truly is a no-win situation.
Politicians and Homosexuality: The Politics of Outing Gays
As with religious leaders, politicians are held to higher standards. Among those standards that "matter" is honesty and integrity. When a politician is supporting legislation in favor of anti-gay movements, yet is in fact gay himself, this presents particular struggles for the people. If a political animal shows one face to the people and another in the bedroom, this rings loudly as hypocrisy.
For most American people, if there is one thing we demand in our governing leadership, it is integrity and honesty. Okay, I can hear you laughing at that statement; but this is truly what we hope for in our politicians, and when given the chance to uncover wrongdoing, we will jump at it like hungry hyenas. Voting and campaigning against LGBT rights on the same day you are meeting your same-sex partner for lunch is certainly going to lack the appearance of both integrity and honesty. Thus, be prepared to endure the wrath of a public outing by media and those who oppose your political arguments.
When Should Someone Be Outed as Gay?
When thinking about the reason for and against outing gays these days, I suppose no one real answer holds true for every situation or person. It remains, and probably will for a long time, a topic that needs individual assessment. What may be right in one situation may be extremely wrong for another.
No matter the personal, political, religious, or social reasons, as long as no one is being lied to or potentially harmed, I have no problem with leaving the closet door firmly closed. But, when even a minor bit of harm is seemingly possible because of a closeted leader, I might just be the first one to enlist the help of a closet door locksmith.
- The Trevor Project — Saving Young LGBTQ Lives
A national 24-hour, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Comments for "What is Outing Someone As Gay?"
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on March 28, 2013:
Daisy Mariposa~ Thank you my friend for your support. I just adore you and am honored to be among those who know you best as a writer. The fact that you are so willing to share this (what I feel to be important) article speaks loudly to your integrity and fairness for doing the right thing. As always, I am proud to call you friend. I appreciate the hub love always!
Wishing you well this Passover season.
HubHugs and Namaste
Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on March 27, 2013:
I applaud your writing on LGBT issues, explaining the subjects in such easy-to-understand ways.
I am proud to call you my friend. I'll be sharing your article with my HubPages followers and with the members of a Facebook group to which I belong. I will also be posting your Hub on Google+ and tweeting it.
Carl Richardson from Midwest USA on December 05, 2012:
I have not read through this thread. But my point about the Nazis is only to introduce an element of caution as to what is going on in politics and society. Nazis were in part, however small, both Jewish and Gay. They did not elect to out themselves. Instead, they remained useful and loyal to the cause. Everybody knew without having to turn this knowledge into a pagan ceremony. Outing in and of itself is nothing, not today, in peace-time (relatively speaking). It is a pointless celebration. But what is the hidden agenda going forward? What do the political Gays hope to bring about outside of their own advancement? In Mein Kampt, Hitler was able for most readers to establish that Judaism was not a religion. How much less is a collection of Gays, with no authority whatsoever, no calling, no mission, save that of self-defense and egotism. For if all they want to do is blend in, they can simply blend in. Few people worth their salt call attention to "differences".
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on December 05, 2012:
I wanted to stop by again and just tell you that this is a most awesome hub. I want to link to it in a hub I'm going to publish about photo projects. Fabulous writing, my friend. :)
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on August 20, 2012:
@Rchrdsnc~ Wow...quite an intense point you make. Thank you for your comment.
@cardelean~ Thank you for sharing this real life story. It is such a shame that so much fear must be swirling around something so wonderful as loving another human being. I hope your friend finds some sort of peace. I agree with your thought on what political and religious leaders who "protest too much" may actually be afraid of. My hope is that those who undermine and lie will be discovered before too much hate and pain get inflicted. Thank you again for making it by. I am always honored to find you among the comments.
cardelean from Michigan on August 20, 2012:
I have a dear friend that I work with who is gay. I have worked with him for 14 years and knew within the first month that he is gay but he has yet to share that with me. We have several mutual friends that have asked him directly if he is gay and he has told him that he is. I know he is gay, and he knows that I know, but I still will not ask him directly. I feel that if he wants to share that with me, he will. I believe that the reason he is not 'out' is because he is a male teacher working in an elementary school. We had an unfortunate situation in our district several years ago that a male kindergarten teacher was accused of and brought to trial for inappropriate conduct with children. In the end, it was discovered that it was impossible for him to have done what he was accused of in the time frame of the accusations and he was acquitted of all charges. Unfortunately his life is forever changed and I believe it was all because he appeared to have homosexual tendencies. I can only imagine how scary it can be to have your life or livelihood threatened because of your sexuality. It is important to respect others' decisions regarding the choice to live in or out of the closet. However, I always question those politicians and preachers who shout the loudest about condemning those who are gay or bisexual. It has always made me wonder which closet the are living in secretly!
Carl Richardson from Midwest USA on August 19, 2012:
The Nazis were the first to put outing to use for a national cause. Just a reminder. . . .
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on August 16, 2012:
@Cardisa~ I am so impressed with your passion on this subject. You make some very direct points that make fantastic sense to me. Equal means equal, anything less is just not good enough! Thank you for stopping by again! I am honored.
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on August 16, 2012:
I had to come back!
I want to know what gives people the right to determine who I sleep with? I mean, why is it important if someone is gay or not. You don't hear people going around pointing fingers at someone or asking them to 'come' out for being heterosexual. So what't he big deal about someone being gay?
No one can tell me whom to sleep with, love or marry, so why is it that someone should dictate to someone else whom they should sleep with, marry or love? I am one of those people who find the war between so called Christians and the gay community senseless.
Why aren't we spending our energies finding child abusers, pedophiles, murderers, rapists and serial killers? Why is someone's private business any body's business?
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on August 16, 2012:
@cclitgirl~Rachel Maddow is a definite inspiration! Her place among today's media heavy hitters gives me hope that not every network has a closed agenda. I am very honored you shared your thoughts on the hub, so grateful for your support and sharp mind!
@Doc Sonic~I am so honored that you find the hub thought provoking and interesting, sir. As you mention, there is in no way a single clear cut answer. The obligations of leadership to be trustworthy has to be protected. Unfortunately, sometimes an outing is the only way to weed out the bums! Thanks so much for making it by, Doc--you always brighten my day!
@jpcmc~ You are absolutely right, this is a topic that must be addressed! I too think that for the most part outing someone as gay is real no-no. But, when push comes to shove, hate speech about gays that drips from a gay closet-case has no place in our community. It only serves to do harm to those who only choose to love. I appreciate that you shared your thoughts and high marks for the hub!
@fpherj48~ I sure respect your input on the topic about outing gays! It has such potential for causing pain and sorrow. No one has the right to out another for reasons of ill will. It is a very touchy topic to be sure. Thank you for leaving your remarks today.
@Teresa Coppens~ It is always nice to have a friendly face when traveling somewhere new. I bet your sister and her partner know where all of good places can be found! Possibly a tour is in order, should we ever land in Australia! I sure appreciate the shares and your continued support, my friend!
@Anonymous_hubber~ I only wish total happiness for you. Thank you for sharing your story.
@KDuBarry03~ Thrilled you stopped by Keith. In our community it is so important to maintain a safe and courageous demeanor. I must say, your most recent hub regarding "Coming Out" was moving and inspirational to say the least. I can see by reading your work that you abide by a very courageous philosophy. I am quite honored to have read your piece, as I am sure all who live in our community will. Thank you for sharing your comments here, and yourself to your readers. You are remarkable.
Super Big HubHugs~
@Cardisa~ As always I so appreciate your wisdom and warm heart. If more people could imagine themselves in a situation of "outing" they might gain new perspective and respect for such things. Thank you for making it by today and for sharing your honesty. I am honored that you did.
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on August 16, 2012:
Your sexuality is your business, no one has the right to "out" you. If someone should have ratted me out when I started hanky-panky I would have been so mad. With the danger some homosexuals face due to society I think it should be left to the individual to come out when they feel ready. The emotional repercussions can be severe if the person faces rejection and ridicule if someone should "out" them and they aren't ready to deal.
KDuBarry03 on August 16, 2012:
This is a great source of information, K(. Yes, the causes for gay support and LGBT communities are definitely on the rise because of the rise of media and conflict against the community. I have personally donated money to the cause to get equal rights as my next door neighbor. To be quite honest, I'm a homosexual and I really don't see what the big deal is with causing conflict with the community; we're all living the same life, just walking different paths :)
Glen Nunes from Cape Cod, Massachusetts on August 15, 2012:
Great hub, K9. My initial impulse regarding the subject of "outing" someone was: it's no one's business to out someone else. If a person wants to come out, fine. If they don't, that's fine too. It's not up to someone else to make that decision for them, especially given the risks.
You've raised some interesting points about that, however. Now I see it's not so clear-cut, especially when political and religious figures are involved. Thanks for this great, thought-provoking piece of writing.
Anonymous_hubber on August 15, 2012:
I'm asexual, but am still wary of "coming out" about it. You'd think that being asexual that you wouldn't care what people think (and thus wouldn't feel a need to come out), but it's not the case for me. I think if I were outed, I'd be really hurt. Great hub! :)
Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on August 15, 2012:
Fantastic article Indie. My sister and her partner in Australia will love your treatment of this sensitive topic. I love the subtle humor but you have hit the nail on the head. Very, very well done!
Suzie from Carson City on August 15, 2012:
Five stars for this one...K9.....and to add to my vote above, I would like to say......It is in no way up to anyone to OUT another individual with respect to any personal or private issues in their life.......It's outrageous and appalling to me that someone would feel the right to take it upon themselves, to make an announcement about another's sexual orientation. Please! Can we have some common decency and courtesies?? Who died and left that person "the Speaker of the Bedroom?" some people truly need a life and a HOBBY.......UP++
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on August 15, 2012:
I had to vote up and share this, K9. This is a beautiful, well-informed well-presented article. The line from your hub, "Being gay is NOT the illness, the illness is the hate," is so true. Anyone that thinks they are better than anyone else because of their beliefs is on shaky ground in my book. Egads, we all put our shoes on the same way, you know? I thought of Rachel Maddow as I was reading. I found out recently that her college newspaper outed her after an on-campus interview and her parents found out before she had a chance to tell them. In any case, I'm glad an LGBT person is in the spotlight because I know she's an inspiration: both for women and for the LGBT community. Very awesome writing - you're too cool, K9. :)
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 15, 2012:
This is an awesome hub. Not many people are brave enough to talk about it. But the truth is it has to be discussed. I personally believe that it's the person's choice whether to come out or not. It is the person's right especially if life and safety is the issue.
Acceptance for LBTG is increasing. However, this does not mean there is no discrimination or bigotry. They still exist. I just hope that people learn to accept more than just spread hate. Voted up and shared. Everyone needs to be educated!