When is it morally acceptable to out someone?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 01, 2011 5:54 PM GMT
    The could I go to jail for outing someone thread asks about legal penalties, though most posters excoriated the OP for his obvious moral failings.

    That begs the question, though, of when it might be morally acceptable to out someone? The thread goes into that a little, and I'm guessing it's been discussed here before, but I think it deserves its own thread.

    This exchange caught my eye:

    OneGeezer said
    wrestlervic saidOnly if the person is one of the following:

    Glenn Beck
    Rush Limbaugh
    Fred Phelps
    Dick Cheney
    Etc.

    Then not only is it right to out them, it's your duty.


    I would like to add a few names

    Alec Baldwin
    Paul Krugman
    Al Gore
    Dave Letterman
    Barbra Streisand
    Gloria Allred
    Rosie - too late on that one


    To me, there's a big difference. wrestlervic was identifying public figures who, if discovered to be gay, would be hypocrites, as they have used their power to hurt the LGBT community. (One might disagree about Dick Cheney, who has really softened his tone - possibly just because he's out of office, but also possibly due to the influence of his lesbian daughter.)

    OneGeezer, on the other hand, lists people whose politics he just doesn't like. None of those people is actively seeking to hurt us, in fact, most of them are staunch allies.

    I am not as stridently anti-outing as some. I think it's morally ok to out a public figure who makes anti-gay statements and/or works actively against LGBT causes. Examples include politicians, religious leaders, heads of ex-gay organizations, etc. I would even make a case for more private folks who work behind the scenes, but are integral to the message of a more public organization or figure. One example would be an aide to an anti-gay political figure.

    Personally, I think that the one important political duty every gay man or lesbian has is to come out - but that no one else has the moral authority to tell them when or how. Therefore, while I think that entertainers (actors, musicians, etc.) who stay in the closet are wusses, I wouldn't out them.

    What do you guys think?

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    May 01, 2011 6:15 PM GMT
    How about this situation:

    A closeted guy who is married. When he goes away to business trips he would have sex with male prostitutes and / or having random hookups, and most of these hookups involves unprotected anal sex. Meanwhile, his wife and him are trying to have another child. Not disclosing his sexuality to his wife would greatly put his wife and his potential child in health hazard.

    (I didn't read that thread it looks too inflammatory; someone might have described this situation already. If they did then OH WELL).
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    May 01, 2011 6:21 PM GMT
    cityaznguy saidHow about this situation:

    A closeted guy who is married. When he goes away to business trips he would have sex with male prostitutes and / or having random hookups, and most of these hookups involves unprotected anal sex. Meanwhile, his wife and him are trying to have another child. Not disclosing his sexuality to his wife would greatly put his wife and his potential child in health hazard.

    (I didn't read that thread it looks too inflammatory; someone might have described this situation already. If they did then OH WELL).


    That is understandable, at the same time it really isnt any of my business. Outting people when they are not ready can have some dangerous consequences to it. Like the kid who killed himself at that college.

    No one person can be judge, jury, and executioner, and our tax-payers dollars are better spent than having an outing board.
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    May 01, 2011 6:28 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    cityaznguy saidHow about this situation:

    A closeted guy who is married. When he goes away to business trips he would have sex with male prostitutes and / or having random hookups, and most of these hookups involves unprotected anal sex. Meanwhile, his wife and him are trying to have another child. Not disclosing his sexuality to his wife would greatly put his wife and his potential child in health hazard.

    (I didn't read that thread it looks too inflammatory; someone might have described this situation already. If they did then OH WELL).


    That is understandable, at the same time it really isnt any of my business. Outting people when they are not ready can have some dangerous consequences to it. Like the kid who killed himself at that college.

    No one person can be judge, jury, and executioner, and our tax-payers dollars are better spent than having an outing board.


    You know buddy, you are right. What I wrote above is really the only circumstance that I can think of of outing someone. Again I refuse to read that thread it will just kill my good mood. lol
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    May 01, 2011 6:38 PM GMT
    Chainers, if my sister's husband was cheating on her and having unsafe sex with others, and I KNEW it and could prove it I'd tell her.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 01, 2011 6:40 PM GMT
    Well unless the person is a hypocrite and causing more harm than good, I wouldn't out a person at all.

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    May 01, 2011 6:56 PM GMT
    Feel welcome to out the hypocrites and the closet-cases whose lies and activities threaten those around them.


    showme saidOneGeezer, on the other hand, lists people whose politics he just doesn't like. None of those people is actively seeking to hurt us, in fact, most of them are staunch allies.


    Onegeezer is a troll. I'm not surprised if he'd use every dirty trick to "take down" a political opponent.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 01, 2011 7:00 PM GMT
    It's impossible to answer this question without knowledge of what the outing is intended to accomplish, and who is the 'Outer'.

    No matter how dreadful or hypocritical the person, outing them without an overarching objective to empower others remains morally contemptible. Moreover, the chances of success/impact also must be considered.

    It's an extremely thorny issue because it leaves the 'Outer' vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy: if gay people should be free to lead their lives free of interference by others, why shouldn't closeted people?

    There are obviously unreasonable scenarios, like a homophobe outing a colleague to an unsympathetic employer. But what about outing a politician who has nonetheless voted for pro-LGBT legislation?

    I think Outing is occasionally justified. I would have outed Roy Cohn without a seconds hesitation. It is not something that may be done lightly, and only with a clear plan for how to manage the aftermath.
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    May 01, 2011 7:10 PM GMT
    meninlove said Chainers, if my sister's husband was cheating on her and having unsafe sex with others, and I KNEW it and could prove it I'd tell her.



    You can tell her that her husband is having unsafe sex with others. Him being gay is irrelevant at this point. A cheater is a cheater. This is different from outing someone all together.
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    May 01, 2011 7:14 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    It's an extremely thorny issue because it leaves the 'Outer' vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy: if gay people should be free to lead their lives free of interference by others, why shouldn't closeted people?


    I think that the right to lead a closeted gay life free of interference by others ends, for a public figure at least, when you are actively working against the freedom of others to be openly gay.

    There obviously are thorny issues involved, which is why it is (to me) an interesting topic.
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    May 01, 2011 7:22 PM GMT
    Ermine saidOnegeezer is a troll. I'm not surprised if he'd use every dirty trick to "take down" a political opponent.

    Applause for your insightful & accurate analysis.

    applause.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 01, 2011 8:24 PM GMT
    http://www.cracked.com/article_18777_5-scientific-reasons-powerful-people-will-always-suck.html?wa_user1=5&wa_user2=Weird+World&wa_user3=article&wa_user4=recommended

    A very good article. Must read
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 01, 2011 8:42 PM GMT
    For me if the person is using their office (political or religious) to harm GLTB interests then they should be outed and shamed (for their hypocrisy: being gay is not shameful).

    Beyond that it´s harder.

  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    May 01, 2011 9:08 PM GMT
    Gay people who make a conscious effort to stand in the way of equal rights for gay people should be outed.
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    May 01, 2011 11:41 PM GMT
    So you think dick cheney just recently changed his tune? I highly suggest you go back and listen to the 2004 Edwards Cheney debate where edwards was trying his damn best to out cheney's daughter to anyone who didn't know. I think everyone knew at that point. I think it was very uncool what edwards did and so did cheney. Excuses the typos as I'm on the piece of crap Droid X.

    And no I didn't pick ones that I simply disagree with as I've stated numerous times in other posts. I picked some of those whose vitriol has gone way over the top in my opinion such as Alec Baldwin on many occasions. One can disagree without being quite so disagreeable. However, good try trying to bait me.


    showme saidThe could I go to jail for outing someone thread asks about legal penalties, though most posters excoriated the OP for his obvious moral failings.

    That begs the question, though, of when it might be morally acceptable to out someone? The thread goes into that a little, and I'm guessing it's been discussed here before, but I think it deserves its own thread.

    This exchange caught my eye:

    OneGeezer said
    wrestlervic saidOnly if the person is one of the following:

    Glenn Beck
    Rush Limbaugh
    Fred Phelps
    Dick Cheney
    Etc.

    Then not only is it right to out them, it's your duty.


    I would like to add a few names

    Alec Baldwin
    Paul Krugman
    Al Gore
    Dave Letterman
    Barbra Streisand
    Gloria Allred
    Rosie - too late on that one


    To me, there's a big difference. wrestlervic was identifying public figures who, if discovered to be gay, would be hypocrites, as they have used their power to hurt the LGBT community. (One might disagree about Dick Cheney, who has really softened his tone - possibly just because he's out of office, but also possibly due to the influence of his lesbian daughter.)

    OneGeezer, on the other hand, lists people whose politics he just doesn't like. None of those people is actively seeking to hurt us, in fact, most of them are staunch allies.

    I am not as stridently anti-outing as some. I think it's morally ok to out a public figure who makes anti-gay statements and/or works actively against LGBT causes. Examples include politicians, religious leaders, heads of ex-gay organizations, etc. I would even make a case for more private folks who work behind the scenes, but are integral to the message of a more public organization or figure. One example would be an aide to an anti-gay political figure.

    Personally, I think that the one important political duty every gay man or lesbian has is to come out - but that no one else has the moral authority to tell them when or how. Therefore, while I think that entertainers (actors, musicians, etc.) who stay in the closet are wusses, I wouldn't out them.

    What do you guys think?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 01, 2011 11:42 PM GMT
    As always Bobby, go fist fuck youself.


    Art_Deco said
    Ermine saidOnegeezer is a troll. I'm not surprised if he'd use every dirty trick to "take down" a political opponent.

    Applause for your insightful & accurate analysis.

    applause.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 01, 2011 11:45 PM GMT
    According to Rachel Maddow

    3. Closeted people should reasonably expect to be outed by other gay people if (and only if) they prey on the gay community in public, but are secretly gay themselves.

    I agree!
  • tyler_helm

    Posts: 299

    May 01, 2011 11:48 PM GMT
    meninlove said Chainers, if my sister's husband was cheating on her and having unsafe sex with others, and I KNEW it and could prove it I'd tell her.




    Of course you have the right to protect your family. I don't think this would only apply to men on the DL, Men who are having an adulterous affairs are also open to being OUTED.
  • DenveRyk

    Posts: 167

    May 01, 2011 11:58 PM GMT
    TheHottestTwink saidAccording to Rachel Maddow

    3. Closeted people should reasonably expect to be outed by other gay people if (and only if) they prey on the gay community in public, but are secretly gay themselves.

    I agree!


    I, too, agree in this matter. I think it would also be a good idea to notify the person in question of the intent to out him/her before actually proceeding to do it. This gives them one more opportunity to come clean themselves and perhaps maintain a shred of dignity or integrity. (It also makes you look even better...lol)

    As for the question of somebody on the down low who is endangering others because of their risky and secretive behaviour, why not "confront" the guilty party first and give him a chance to be straight with his partner about his bahaviour? It seems it would be the decent thing to do, because it allows for the possibility of the two parties in question working things out between them. To go to the wife (in the case presented above) would most likely end up hurting everybody involved with little if any hope of salvaging the relationships that both might consider important and desirable.

    Morality is always more complex than it at first seems...but that said, trying to act with compassion, not just passion, seems the best path.

    And the old geezer's list of lefties--just makes no sense at all. So sad for him.
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    May 02, 2011 12:04 AM GMT
    This is a very very sensitive topic. Especially with the example that cityaznguy put. I mean, his actions could be detrimental especially if the baby is born with a disease. =( You don't want your children being born with gonnorrhea or however its spelled and then knowing your child has it because of your promiscuity.

    Then again, since when was it anyone's business to tell others unless unless if it was actually inflicting damage on an innocent life, such as a baby.

    Such a tough topic. It makes me sad when I find straight guys who wish to cheat on their girls and have fun "guy" time cause it makes me realize, its not just gays, its guys in general...

    Even worse, when these guys know what they are doing and are not considering the effects they can have on others.

    We still live in a world where being gay is shunned upon. I can only hope that one day, we'll live in a world where there won't be a thing called, "Coming out of the closet" There shouldn't be a closet in the first place. It shouldn't matter if you like girls or guys.

    That will probably be a long time though. I still feel that it should be left up to the individual, and like someone said here earlier, if you are still in the closet, you begging for someone to out you... not literally "begging" you are asking for it to happen if the wrong people find out.

    Don't know if this relates or works, but what about murders for their crimes? Or is being gay or in the closet a crime for that matter? Then again, actually, in some places it is to be gay. =( I have a friend in those Arabian countries, I have to tell him each time we IM or chat to be strong, cause I can't imagine having to surpress certain feelings for years.

    Who are we to out people justly? Is it even just? I don't even think I answered the topic but I don't want to use the power of outing someone. I don't want to be responsible. They should do what they must to protect themselves and others.
  • MuscleComeBac...

    Posts: 2376

    May 02, 2011 12:06 AM GMT
    I'm gonna' get flamed like Bambi by Godzilla for this, but here goes:

    To out someone with the intent to harm or defame or cause them suffering is an abhorrent concept. To out a young man still questioning and struggling with his self-identity is equally as cruel.

    However, outing should be moot in a free society. There are obvious reasons for being closeted for some men in nations where homosexuality could result in in imprisonment or death. But in North America, most countries in South America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, many Pacific Islands and some Caribbean nations, as well as some African nations, and a handfull of Middle Eastern countries, there simply is NO good reason for a man who has come to self-identify in private as gay to remain in the closet, except for fear of unfair, unjust reprisal that has no basis in law (e.g. a clearly powerful employer who would dismiss an employee without cause for being openly gay - assuming no other job option.)

    I think it's perfectly acceptable to refuse to participate in the lie for a mature adult who is simply hiding behind pretense - and this is not limited to politicos and the powerful - particularly if they're not vocal about defending other gay men for fear of being outed themselves. I think it's a valid form of 'outing' to refuse to cover for someone or to edit to keep them 'invisible'. It's patronizing - like everyone at Thanksgiving agreeing to pretend for poor uncle Ed's sake that the Confederacy was right and the Union was wrong. No. No it wasn't. Grow up, Uncle Ed.

    To insist on truth in public conversation is almost a moral obligation for us as a community. I find nothing wrong with refusing to play a part in another gay man's self-hatred. It is particularly disrespectful, cowardly and insufferably deceitful for a closeted gay man to still pretend to be straight in the presence of another openly gay man, whether in private or public gatherings. It's indefensible to my way of thinking, and I apologize to those who feel otherwise. But hypocrisy breeds homophobia.

    So, asbestos vest donned....go at it!

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    May 02, 2011 12:07 AM GMT
    cityaznguy saidHow about this situation:

    A closeted guy who is married. When he goes away to business trips he would have sex with male prostitutes and / or having random hookups, and most of these hookups involves unprotected anal sex. Meanwhile, his wife and him are trying to have another child. Not disclosing his sexuality to his wife would greatly put his wife and his potential child in health hazard.

    (I didn't read that thread it looks too inflammatory; someone might have described this situation already. If they did then OH WELL).


    A cheating spouse can get disease from male or female, it is still their business not yours. Here's a tip for you, people cheat and jeopardize their own health and their partners health every day. Whether it is same sex or not is irrelevant to your example.

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    May 02, 2011 12:08 AM GMT
    Chainers said
    meninlove said Chainers, if my sister's husband was cheating on her and having unsafe sex with others, and I KNEW it and could prove it I'd tell her.



    You can tell her that her husband is having unsafe sex with others. Him being gay is irrelevant at this point. A cheater is a cheater. This is different from outing someone all together.


    +++1
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    May 02, 2011 12:55 AM GMT
    If they are dating a girl and getting some from guys on the side, or if a guy knows he's gay but is intentionally leading the girl on knowing he will break her heart, that's more cruel than making him come to terms with his sexuality.

    I was outed. It's really not THAT bad unless your mom's bloodspout explodes at you.
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    May 02, 2011 2:06 AM GMT
    denveryk said
    TheHottestTwink saidAccording to Rachel Maddow

    3. Closeted people should reasonably expect to be outed by other gay people if (and only if) they prey on the gay community in public, but are secretly gay themselves.

    I agree!


    I, too, agree in this matter. I think it would also be a good idea to notify the person in question of the intent to out him/her before actually proceeding to do it. This gives them one more opportunity to come clean themselves and perhaps maintain a shred of dignity or integrity. (It also makes you look even better...lol)

    As for the question of somebody on the down low who is endangering others because of their risky and secretive behaviour, why not "confront" the guilty party first and give him a chance to be straight with his partner about his bahaviour? It seems it would be the decent thing to do, because it allows for the possibility of the two parties in question working things out between them. To go to the wife (in the case presented above) would most likely end up hurting everybody involved with little if any hope of salvaging the relationships that both might consider important and desirable.

    Morality is always more complex than it at first seems...but that said, trying to act with compassion, not just passion, seems the best path.

    And the old geezer's list of lefties--just makes no sense at all. So sad for him.


    I forgot one. So sorry