Can outing someone as being gay be considered a form of bullying? It seems hardly a month passes when we do not hear or read about a celebrity being outed.
Margaret Cho, referring to John Travolta, said recently:
“I’m going to get in trouble but I’ll just tell you,” she continued. “He’s not just gay. He doesn’t just like men. He is like Oscar Wilde gay, like Lord Byron gay. That kind of crazy, incredibly flamboyant gay.” 1
Travolta denies the allegation, but the rumors continue.
Is Outing Someone Wrong?
Is outing someone of being gay right in some cases but wrong in others?
One argument in favor of outing is that it is wrong unless it involves celebrities. The reasoning is that people who choose to live in the public arena have a responsibility to let people know they are gay and forfeit their right to live in the closet.
Another reason is that celebrities who are open about being gay can become role models for gay teens who struggle with the issue.
If public figures came out of the closet, then the LGBT kids who saw them on TV would feel safe, before they even knew why they felt dangerous. 2
An argument against outing a person is that the person doing the outing places him/herself in a position of judging what’s right for another person. Also, coming out is a personal matter regardless of social status and should be done when the person is ready.
Whether outing someone is right or wrong, the debate continues. What usually can be agreed upon is that being gay no longer has the negative stigma that it once had, and people — whether celebrities, politicians, or anyone — can reveal that they are gay without as much concern as in the past.
1 John Travolta is Like Oscar Wilde Gay – Business Insider
1 Outing (And Why Gay Celebrities Need to Leave the Closet) – Margaret Cho
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