Over the course of my life I have come across a number of closet cases, each with their own range of reasons for hiding their true self; every excuse becoming more and more absurd with every step toward equality. Come on people, it's 2015! Even if you live in the most conservative region of the country, I'll bet you still have at least one person on Facebook that still has their profile picture rainbow-washed. It's a fact that most people will love you just as much, if not more, after you come out. But I realize I am preaching to the choir. Closeted people don't read articles like this. They avoid them. And that's why I am writing this to you - the people who think it's absolutely no big deal to be gay. And you've already answered the question. Of course it's not okay to out someone!
Well the reason I'm writing this is because I seriously thought about outing someone. There are some disgusting people in the world. The Robert Mugabes, the Anita Bryants, the Pat Robertsons of the world preaching hate under the auspices of God's love. Gag me. So, what if one of them was gay? Shouldn't we out them? If Ahmadinejad was a closeted Christian we ought to know that. If Hitler was secretly Jewish, a revelation of that would've been a game-changer. So let's pretend, for a moment, that Rick Santorum admits to me that he is gay (ahem... something not outside the realm of possibility). Do I not have the responsibility to out him? Let's be honest, when an anti-gay Republican Congressman (take your pick) is outed, it is so delicious it has got to be fattening. I delight in "just desserts" moments and these are the sweetest. But as much pleasure I take in catching a bigot caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar (or tapping his foot in the stall of an airport restroom) it is, at its core, deeply troubling.
It is one thing for someone like Rush Limbaugh to bloviate about the sanctity of marriage but nothing infuriates me more than when someone I know for a fact is gay posts anti-gay bombast on Facebook. Nonplused, I try to move on but not without a jabbing reply or comment. Geez, at least a hateful hetero can stand by ignorance. I just don't get it. But we all know that person - the "methinks thou dost protest too much" closet case, perpetually insistent upon proving their heterosexualism. Bless their heart. Someone I know very well does this all the time. And when I say I know for a fact he is gay, I mean I know with absolute one hundred percent certainty that he is Q-U- double E-R queer. But as much as I would relish in outing the SOB, I have to think through how it would play out. The mess would begin with humiliation and end with anger, resentment and worse. It could, and has, lead to suicide. This kind of situation involves a person already rife with self-loathing and gay-shaming could push them over the edge. This is NEVER the course that it should take!
Coming out must, must, must be a happy time, a prideful milestone in one's life. No matter how long it takes to finally get there, no matter how ridiculous they look to those around them, no matter how many times they lie, hide, lash out, or avoid reality, we must not out them. This is what I have to tell myself. They will get there. They will get there with nothing less than love and when they do, they can rest assured knowing we will be waiting with open arms.