More Thoughts on Outing

More thinking on outing someone…

I know the story, mostly, behind Z’s coming out. It will never see the light of this page. She told me and she trusts me not to reveal it. I won’t without her coming to me before I ever type a single word of it.

When you out someone without their permission, you have broken a trust. You were given knowledge with the expectation that you would not reveal it. Why would you betray that trust? What selfish motive, including anger, is worth breaking it?

If I were to tell what I know, I would ruin a friendship. I would be unable to associate with a person I treasure because of some stupid reason. *editorial, I have no desire to tell her secrets. I am just using our relationship as an example* I promised to protect her and write for her so that she could have a voice to add to hers. As a friend an ally, I can not see any reason to abuse that trust.

If you were not given the information and you out someone, that is worse. It means that the way you came across the info was less than legitimate or accidental. It means that you further decided to use that info for your own gain or to willingly cause harm to someone. You decided to reveal something they wanted private in order to advance yourself at the cost of someone else.

I think the word I am looking for is one that has fallen out of usage. The word is Honor. It is dishonorable to out someone without their permission. It is the act of a coward to cause harm to a person that can not harm you and means no harm toward you. In a society that claims to value privacy and where privacy is vanishingly rare, taking what little we have left away from someone is wrong. Period. People have their own reasons for wanting not to be out. It is not our place to question those motives nor is it our place to disregard those motives.

Again, I think the world of Z. Even if she had not been out, these would be about and for her. The difference is, you would have never known she existed. Without her permission, her name and the bits of her that exist here would not happen because it is not my place to out anyone. *editorial, it would be harder to write these without her but, it would still happen because writing to support a friend is an honorable act*

In the end it comes down to this, let them decide when and how to come out. Don’t take that away from them. Life is hard enough without having someone force your hand.

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5 comments

  1. I’m not gay or pagan (Not sure what I am religiously speaking but that is neither here nor there).. what I am is Hepatitis C positive.

    There was a time, for my protection and the protection of my (now) ex and his children where we decided to tell very few and only those I chose to have as a support system.

    A few months later I found out that a family member had “outed” me to another family member(s). It had no impact on my step children or my ex but that wasn’t the point. The person who outed me to other family had no right and quite frankly it hurt. My medical condition was not their business to spread or talk about until I said it was OK. I will still very much wrapping MY head around the diagnosis. I didn’t want to be answering questions from people I didn’t even want to know yet.

    Being Hep + can be very stigmatizing. Most people associate the disease with drugs and assume that you got it because you’re a junkie. In my case nothing could be farther from the truth. I was infected sometime between birth and 11 yrs old during one of the 10 surgeries I had, or during one of the countless procedures I endured as a child. I’ve lived with this my entire life and had no idea until 16 months ago.

    I’ve since “com out” of the “medical closet” in an open letter on FB as I’m no longer with my ex and couldn’t care less if his previous ex finds out now (long story!). But *I* chose to come out and to educate people about the disease, how it’s transmitted and to encourage them to be tested. *i* chose to be an advocate and take charge of “who knew”. I’ve never confronted the person who chose to tell others. It’s moot now and I don’t feel like arguing.

    Thank you for being someone with integrity and honor. Thank you for being that someone who would protect their friend or family.

    ~Jahna~

  2. There’s a lot of “coming out” to be done by all kinds of humans. We need to take care of ourselves and our loved ones and protect them. Outing someone is neither taking care, nor protecting. Keep on educating, Jahna!

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