If you haven't heard, The Daily Beast recently published an article by Nico Hines, wherein Nico, a straight, white male who is married with children thought it would be interesting to go on Grindr (a gay sex app), and proceed to essentially out a number of closeted gay athletes.
I don't think I've read another piece of "journalism" that caused me to feel as sick to my stomach as this one.
As a straight-white male there are a number of things that Mr. Hines may not understand. Being gay, and living openly isn't easy in many parts of the world In fact, it is illegal to be gay in 77 countries. In at least 10 of them, it is a crime punishable by death. Most of the time, that death sentence is carried out by stoning the person to death.
Perhaps, Mr. Hines doesn't understand that the closet doesn't exist because it makes life easier. It exists to save our lives.
As a straight-white male, Mr. Hines has never had to feel the fear of walking down the street while holding hands with his partner. He's never had to worry about whether someone is going to beat him to death for living as he is. He's never had to worry about his parents and family rejecting him for being who he is. If he's going on vacation he doesn't have to research whether his sexuality is illegal in the country he is visiting. He has never had to fight for the right to simply marry the person he loves. He has never been barred from visiting his partner in the hospital, never been subjected to congressional hearings about whether or not the makeup of his relationship could damage his children. He has never had to live his life everyday as someone he isn't out of a need to survive.
So, perhaps given the fact that he has never had to live with those fears he doesn't understand that gay clubs, gay applications and websites are our safe place. A place in the world that we carved out where we can feel free to be who we are. Perhaps, Mr. Hines doesn't understand that the closet doesn't exist because it makes life easier. It exists to save our lives.
These things do not excuse him writing an article that treats our lives as a spectacle, that gives enough identifying details about Olympic athletes to essentially out them. These things do not excuse The Daily Beast for publishing this article.
Mr. Hines, if any of these men return to their home countries and are sentenced to death for being gay. It is on you.
I hope you can learn to find some compassion, and some understanding that our lives aren't a spectacle or a carnival exhibit for you to gawk at.
To learn more about the global issues LGBT people face, check out the HumanRightsCampaign's Global organization here.
A version of this post originally appeared on Medium.