paulflexes saidExplain the straight people who don't show their face online.
A face pic does not determine whether or not a person is "out" or "openly gay." It's just a personal choice.
Yeah, I usually don't use a face pic on most sites I've joined, some of them gay, some not. It's not an issue of being out, but of being private, and for security concerns. This site is exceptional in that I finally put a small pic of myself up, although more exist in my private album here. Though not the most recent, since I've changed a lot in the last 2 years, and that works to "disguise" me a little online, again for privacy's sake.
As for other aspects of being out, I've led gay pride parades right down the main street, in sometimes risky circumstances, and right in front of TV & newspaper cameras. I've also belonged to college campus gay student organizations (both in student and faculty adviser roles), handing out our literature during campus fairs, appearing for gay causes. So I'm certainly not shy or reticent in those circumstances to be publicly "out."
I think online and real world are not entirely the same for this topic, and we'd be mixing different motivations if we tried to view them in an identical way. One area where they might be similar, however, is in concerns over employer prejudice, and other anti-gay circumstances.
Be visibly gay on a site your homophobic employer might access and you could be legally out of a job in many US states. March in a gay pride parade when your boss happens to be on the sidewalk, or be seen coming out of a gay bar, and the same thing will happen.
I'm very out in every sense, but I've always said that I don't expect other gays to be out if they can't afford to be out. And that's a personal decision for them, not mine to make, based on the individual & unique circumstances in which they find themselves.
I'd like you to be out if you can, because I think visibility is good for the gay community. But don't be out if it will seriously hurt you, because your loss of income or other advantages you have could be bad for the gay community, as well as for yourself. Much as I'm seen here as an extremist on many political matters, on this issue I'm quite pragmatic, and slow to criticize others about their choices.