Forcing someone to come out, or even doing it in their place, has a name: it is outing. Its consequences can be devastating in the life of the outdated person, that is to say whose sexual orientation or gender identity has been revealed against their will. It is to undergo an @article_(announcement of his homosexuality)_(necs2) or his transidentity without being prepared for it. Yet outing is also used as a political weapon by some LGBT+ movements, particularly in Anglo-Saxon countries.
A brief history of outing in France and around the world
What is outing?
Born in the United States, outing consists of revealing a person's sexual or gender orientation, without their consent or even against their will. This revelation can concern gay or lesbian homosexuality, but also bisexuality, transidentity, non-binarity, etc.
To understand well :
- Coming out: when a non-heterosexual or non-cisgender person chooses to come out with their gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Outing: when someone reveals the gender identity or sexual orientation of a non-heterosexual or non-cisgender person without their consent.
The outing can therefore be present in the form of a family member whom you have trusted in your confidences who announces your homosexuality in the middle of the family meal without your consent. It is also a political weapon used primarily by LGBT+ movements in the United States.
The outing, an LGBT weapon
Outing originated in the United States in the 1990s. In the midst of the AIDS crisis, which particularly affected the homosexual community, members of the association ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) denounced the inaction of political actors in the fight against AIDS by pointing the finger at homosexual people who hold positions of power but do not act. Often, the homosexuality of these politicians was not publicly known.
In France, it was Act-Up Paris which used the threat of outing in 1999 to put pressure on a homosexual deputy, present at a homophobic anti-pacs demonstration. Even if they did not go all the way and finally gave up on outing the MP concerned, the idea was to highlight the contradiction between public positions and his homosexuality.
However, outing raises a moral question since it is denunciation which consists of providing information about someone, without their consent, in order to harm them.
In France, there are also media outings such as that of Geoffroy Didier, co-founder of the UMP de la Droite Forte, by Stéphane Berne in 2013, which did not give rise to legal proceedings.
Whatever the context of the outing, isn't it always LGBT people who are the victims?
This symbolic violence against homosexual political or media personalities is also used by far-right activists in France.
Undergoing an outing (and recovering from it)
Beyond militant political action, outing can upset the lives of people who are not yet ready to come out or who have not done so to everyone around them.
- Get to safety: maybe you had kept the secret to avoid violence, protecting yourself from it remains the priority,
- Turn to support: we can never repeat it enough, being surrounded and supported is fundamental, HappyGayTV is also there for that [link to hotline]
- Talk to the person who left: Express your feelings and possibly review the level of trust you can give them.
- Take stock of the situation: you didn't choose it, but now it's a reality so take the time to see what this changes for you and set the new rules to help you live your sexual orientation to the best of your ability.
Marco, founder of HappyGayTV himself suffered outing from some members of his family. We are therefore particularly well placed to tell you about it. You can @article_(discover his testimony)_(00s53).
To go further together :
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