Outting Sucks

I recently jumped into a blog debate concerning whether it is right or wrong to publicly “out” a gay person against his/her will.   Here are a few of my thoughts.

I’ve been told ad nauseum for the past 20 or so years that it is important to be tolerant and respectful of those who have different beliefs or lifestyles, and I believe that is true.  I haven’t always lived up to that standard perfectly, and sometimes I’ve utterly failed to do so (I suspect we all have).  But it is very important to me personally to try as hard as I can, and when I screw up, I will do everything I can not to repeat the error.  

It seems to me that wherever the notions of tolerance and respect might lead, at the very least they require us to respect the private lives of people.  If someone wants to make their sexual orientation a matter of public knowledge for whatever reason, they’re entitled to do so.  But that doesn’t give them the right to force others to do the same.  There are a lot of reasons a person might choose to keep their sexual proclivities private, and unless those preferences are inherently illegal (e.g., pedophilia or bestiality), that privacy should be respected and honored; unless, that is, we don’t care about being honorable or halfway decent human beings. 

I’m not talking about petty fights between people, or the accidental drunken slip at a bar with friends.  I’m talking about the trend of nationally exposing the sexual orientation of people in order to achieve political points or to “punish” closeted gays for not coming out when other gays think they should, or how they think they should, or with the correct political beliefs all gays are “supposed” to have.  This exercise is purely mean and self-serving: does it ever occur to the outters that the person in question might not want to be a poster child for the gay movement?  And what’s wrong with a person trying to maintain some semblance of a private life?

I suppose it might be different if the closeted gay in question was running for office on a platform of opposing gay rights.  Because they’re a candidate for public office, inconsistencies in their policy positions are “need to know” information for voters.  And by thrusting themselves into the political spotlight, they should know what they’re getting into.  I have less sympathy for those people.  But when someone is a public figure because they’ve risen to the top of their chosen field outside of government—acting, reporting, sports, etc.—it doesn’t mean their personal lives are fodder for our consumption.  If they’ve committed a crime, that conduct is fair game for public criticism.  But keeping one’s private sex life private is not a crime.

What strikes me is that the people engaging in this behavior—this relentless and sniping speculation about others’ sexuality—are the very ones demanding tolerance, respect, and compassion from society.  It’s not unusual to hear these folks justify their actions by saying it’s “for the children”, for the handful of teenagers who kill themselves rather than admit they’re gay.  If certain public figures would just put their private sexual lives in the spotlight and be that Poster Child, it would make it so much easier for all the other gays to come out and be Here and Queer.    In my opinion, it’s no one’s job to make everyone’s life easier unless they willingly take on that task.  Being a successful actor or news journalist or athlete does not obligate someone to ameliorate the personal burdens and struggles of strangers. 

Like I said, keeping one’s sexual desires private is not a crime, and it shouldn’t be treated like one.   Gays are going to have a hard time convincing others to be respectful and tolerant of them if they can’t even treat one another with basic decency and respect.  I’ve seen hard-core fundamentalist Baptists be more civil and respectful to flaming gays than these outters are. 

For all the people out there who feel entitled to tar and feather someone because they choose not to make their sexuality a public matter, I have this to say: if you spent half the time working to help all those poor beleaguered gays you claim to care about, as you do sticking your nose into everyone else’s personal business, maybe you could do some good.  Stop being such a self-righteous, high-handed, intolerant ass and get busy.  Get out there and do the hard work yourself instead of whining that others aren’t doing it for you. 

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~ by lewdandlascivious on June 17, 2007.

2 Responses to “Outting Sucks”

  1. Thanks for pointing out to the gay world out there, that we are all human. Unlike the rabid lefty gays, we live in a real world with real consequences. We all make mistakes in life. One thing is very clear to me, there is absolutely no moral compass among these people. The true religions of the world offer something called redemption. We are all expected to sin, but we can make retribution by forsaking our sins. Which you clearly did in regard to outing. But the gay left demands complete agreement on all their platforms. And a young 18 who may have made a mistake in holding up a sign – is the worst human possible in their world. That one act allows them to ruin his life, and be justified in doing so – because he is a hypocrite. You are right, they can never be called hypocrites, because they stand for nothing. But they can destroy other peoples lives with impunity, and whoe to anyone to stands their and calls them out for the evil people they are.

  2. I don’t think I know a single gay person who feels entitled to go around outing people: I’m sure there are some, but I suspect the outers do not represent the gay community in general, which as far as I’ve ever seen is comprised of people just trying to get along and be happy in life, just like you or me. To me, it just seems to be a quality inherent in ALL extremists, regardless of what side they’re on, to be oppressive and vindictive in their pursuit of political victories (there are right-wingers and Christians who do it too). Maybe one reason outing makes me so mad is that it scores cheap political points at the expense of decent, everyday people who just happen to be gay, and put gays in a bad light they don’t deserve. In much the same fashion, the increasingly Leftist leadership of the Democratic Party doesn’t really represent all the decent people out there who happen to vote Democrat. Extremists hijack the identity of the people they claim to represent, and that’s what annoys me.

    As you pointed out, the Left in general seems to relish destroying the lives of those who stand on the “wrong” side of the ideological line. In the blog debate I was in, I played up the bitch angle big time, so I probably flared some tempers (I’m great at picking fights, I find them hilarious and invigorating). But I still got a strong sense of rationalization (he wasn’t REALLY outed, a few people knew he was gay) and utterly intolerant arrogance (he DESERVED to be punished because he campaigns for the “evil” Tancredo). Not a lot of effort to examine the issue in a clear, unbiased moral light. Pretty disappointing.

    Anyway, I could be wrong but I read your comment as referring to the Leftists in the gay community, not gays in general—just in case anyone reads this and wants to freak out, thinking you were calling all gays evil. Because we gots to love our gays (and the Queen very much does)!!

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