Is Outing Someone as Gay Ever Okay?

some people are gay
"Some People Are Gay". Image (c) lewishamdreamer

Outing is telling people that someone else is gay without that person's permission.

Sometimes, this is done maliciously to hurt someone. Sometimes, it is done by a person who thinks they are being helpful. For example, a person with a gay friend might think the friend's life would be better if he or she was openly gay.

Most people think that outing someone as gay is never okay, but a few teens feel that being outed can occasionally be helpful.

Another teen, this one a 16-year-old girl, explains, "If teachers know you're gay, they are more likely to stick up for you. Not in an unfair way, but they won't brush it off when someone is beating you in the hallway and screaming at you. They might even stop people from saying "that's so gay", since they personally know someone who is gay."

Another teen says, "I was accidentally outed by a friend when my mom was giving us a ride from school and I felt like there was a weight lifted off of my shoulders. My friend kept telling me she was sorry because I wanted them to find out when I moved out. But I told her that it was ok and that it was going to happen some time. Good thing my friend supported me through it all. We ended up going to Walmart and laughing about it the same night, but everyone's experiences are different."

Despite these examples, a good rule of thumb is simply to let people come out on their own terms and at their own pace.

The experience of teen named KennyJ is an example of why even if someone thinks that outing someone will be helpful, it can have really terrible consequences. He says, "My aunt forced me to come out to my mother and father right before Christmas. She kept blackmailing me, so I got sick of it and told them in a text message. My mom was okay with it. My dad chased me down the street..."