Let me first say that I am not a fan of “outing” anyone against their will. I think it is unnecessarily damaging and I’ll even go one step further. I think it is immoral and probably counterproductive to the cause of gay rights. Coming out is tough enough, all by itself, when it’s internal, organic, and authentic. Forcing someone to confront others about their sexuality before they have been able to do so privately and individually does more harm than good. I believe everyone has the right to come out on their own terms, in their own time, and in their own way. Weaponizing “coming out” for the sole and explicit purpose of hurting someone is an evil act.
That being said I think I am ready to go on record stating the following: While I think outing anyone is clearly wrong, generally speaking, I do see one glaring exception. I think outing can be an appropriate response and defense to hypocrisy. Those who wage public warfare against our community, those who publicly disparage, or vote, or support legislation that discriminates against the gay community while secretly lead a double life…are fair game. Allowing leaders or public figures do and say things that target our gay brothers and sisters while they’re hooking up on the side is a much greater immorality that changes the rubric for outing. Let’s take the case of a Tennessee lawmaker who got outed last week.
Rep. Bill Sanderson resigned last week amid credible allegations that he has been hooking up on Grindr for years. Rep. Bill Sanderson is a conservative political leader that has regularly verbally disparaged our community and has voted for and supported legislation that hurt us. He is an outspoken critic and opponent of basic rights like gay marriage, he supports conversion therapy, and uses his position to persuade others to discriminate and marginalize us. It is this kind of cowardice and hypocrisy that I just can’t stomach and I don’t think should be allowed to win the day. I think holding leaders accountable to their words and actions is important. This is especially true when those words and actions hurt our community.
Hypocrisy is a disease. It’s an infection. A cancer that eats and destroys real life people who just want to live their lives in the light of day, fall in love, and be true to their authentic selves. Hypocrisy should be exposed by the light of truth and if outing people who say one thing while they are doing another can help defend our community I am all for it.