In 2018, the movie “Love, Simon” came out and blew up within the LGBT community. The movie, based on Becky Albertalli’s book, told the story of Simon Spier being outed to his entire school. One reason the movie was so popular is because so many LGBT people could relate to it. Often, people are outed against their will, causing complications in their family and social lives.
The act of outing someone is defined as “The public disclosure of the covert homosexuality of a prominent person especially by homosexual activists.” Being outed isn’t just a thing that happens to celebrities, though; many people are outed on a daily basis, often by straight people who think they’re doing them a favor. Often, straight people will believe that if they out someone, it takes away the difficulty of coming out for that person.
That’s usually not true. Coming out is a unique experience for everyone who goes through it, and many LGBT people have to make a choice about how and when to do so. When someone is outed, it takes that decision away from them, and it often puts them in a risky situation. Regardless of whether or not someone’s family is accepting, how and when they come out should always be their choice.
Many people want their coming out experience to be a happy, special moment with their trusted family, but when they’re outed, they lose that option. For instance, I asked a few people who had been outed before they were ready how it affected them.
One person stated, “I felt violated.” They added that being outed damaged their relationship with their parents because it forced them to have a conversation that none of them were ready to have.
“It made me grow up a lot faster than I needed to, and my relationship with my parents was almost irreparably damaged.”
They also said since they had trusted the person who outed them, it made it a lot harder for them to trust anyone with that kind of information in the future.
Another case I’d heard of ended disastrously. Although they came out to their family themselves, it was only because their brother-in-law forced them to. Their parents, who were very religious, cut them off from every friend they had who wasn’t Christian and straight. They got all of their electronics taken away for months, and once they got them back, their parents closely monitored everything they did with them. They lost 75 percent of their friends because of this, and they still don’t get to talk to many of them to this day.
This kind of reaction is what many LGBT people are afraid of, and it’s usually what prevents people from coming out to their families in the first place. It’s important to remember that you don’t always know what a person’s home life is like, and that something like this could potentially change their entire life.
If you’re unsure whether or not to out someone, consider this: don’t. The only person who holds the right to out someone is the person who is coming out.