What Can You Do if Someone Outs You as Gay or Lesbian?

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What can you do if someone outs you as gay or lesbian? A lot of people who aren't openly gay, lesbian or bisexual worry about being "outed." Here is some information on what you can do if you are outed, either on purpose or not.

How it Feels to Be Outed

You might feel a lot of different things if you are outed by someone else. You could be embarrassed, angry, scared, or even relieved. Here a few teens talk about being outed and how they handled the situation.

Teen Experiences Being Outed as Gay

A 16-year-old lesbian writes about how she accidentally outed herself:

"It's really embarrassing if you do it to yourself and really aggrivating when someone else does it. I was at lunch and it got really quiet and my friend said every time there is an awkward silence a gay baby was born. I (being a smart a**) said, "If that was true there would be a lot more gay people. We would be the majority." Whoops! Unfortunately, he noticed and asked "We?" Luckily, my friend Candace, knowing my situation, said, "Yes we! She is my wife!" she was my being playful, of course. He stopped questioning me but I still feel awkward."

A 15-year-old gay Australian explains how a friend outed him to another girl:

"Well, I was at school with my friends, Emma and Shannon, and Emma was writing a story. I had already come out to Emma. So I asked Emma if I could be in it, and she wrote about an innocent gay guy. So when Shannon read it, she said, "But I thought Alex was going to be in it..." And Emma said "Yeah, he's the gay guy." "Wait, is Alex gay?" "What, yeah, he is." And I was looking at her shocked, and she looked at me, sighed, and said "Relax Alex, I'm pretty sure she already knew."

A 14-year-old talks about how his mom outed him as gay to a relative:

"I've only really been outed once. It was by my mom, and she told my uncle. I had just gotten out of a doctor's appointment and we were talking, and somehow the fact that my uncle had an anxiety disorder, and that she had told him I'm gay, came out of my mother's mouth. She felt like telling me about his secret made up for telling him mine. But it really didn't because, wtf, an anxiety disorder isn't a secret when EVERYONE ALREADY KNOWS. I mean seriously the dude wouldn't open a door without circling the house 7 times first. We knew. We all knew. Though thinking about it that way, they might've already known I'm gay. But if they did, they didn't let on."

What to Do if You Get Outed

The Guide to Lesbian Life offers these tips on what to do if you ever get outed.

  1. Don't panic. Just because you were outed, doesn't mean you have to admit it. It is your right to deny what someone else has said.
  2. Assess the situation. Think about how acknowledging that you are gay, lesbian or bisexual will affect your life.
  3. Enlist the support of friends. Get advice from your friends and other people whom you are out to about how to proceed. As the Lesbian Life Guide says, "While you might feel like it's the end of the world, they can probably see the whole picture from a more neutral point of view."
  4. Decide what action to take. You might not want to do anything, but if you have been thinking about coming out, could this be the right opportunity to do so?
  5. Try to breathe.

Being outed can be a big deal, but it can also be something that you can try to manage on your own terms.