I think it’s wicked hella dick to out someone, and it’s NEVER going to be a Good Thing to do, or even an Okay Thing, considering how much very real personal and professional and emotional risk it puts the outed person into in our homophobic society (irrespective of privacy concerns and the nebulous boundaries of whose secrets are whose in an illicit tryst and whose audience for outing is whose, and what levels of “public” audience the parties in question are comfortable with, etc. etc.); and that’s true no matter what one’s sociopolitical reasons are for such an act.
So while I get and very much sympathize with where Azariah Southworth is coming from in his article, “I Hooked Up With a Gay Evangelical Christian — Here’s Why I Outed Him”, defending his actions in outing Jonathan Merritt– in his words, “I’m tired of my humanity as a gay man being invalidated by hypocritical leaders like Jonathan, who then expect my support in return”– I still think that he did something really, really shitty, even if exposing that hypocrisy was the less “Wrong” choice for him to make (and obviously, that’s a highly personal choice, already highly politicized without the addition of individual political significance extending beyond one’s marginalized and political identities– and trickier still when mixing politics and religion). But I also happen to think that not every shitty, horrible, ethically debatable or even outright immoral act is necessarily ALWAYS the “Wrong” choice, even if the article is fairly self-interested in a way I found slightly grating (this may just be Southworth’s writing voice, though, and articulating personal issues can be awkward at best, so that aspect’s nbd, as far as I’m concerned).
The place where this gets muddy for me is that even though I do come from the “make an omelet, break some eggs” school (and fwiw I am also from the “everybody’s business is their own and privacy is incredibly significant and important” school, hence the preference for “I may be an asshole, but I’m not the wrongest one here” statements), I have to question the value of outing hyperconservatives to begin with. It serves to delegitimize their evangelism, obviously, and may unseat some of their personal power, but it does nothing to further an anti-homophobic agenda when the homophobes who conditionally gave them that power then withdraw it and turn the outed person in question’s queerness into a media punchline while another (possibly also self-loathing undercover queer) bigot steps up to fill the vacuum.
Not that they don’t necessarily deserve it for being exploitative hypocrital condescending shitbags concerned only with maintaining a status quo in which they can effectively “pass” and gain/protect the legal rights and privileges of the cisheteropatriarchy’s èlite, but it “feels” like a misaimed allocation of energies, imo. It’s a self-satisfying act, and while those can be awesome, nothing else of value seems to be gained from the sensationalism surrounding an invasive and spiteful outing. I’m not sure the grief deliberate nonconsensual outing causes people, even if it’s simply exposing the truth, is necessarily worth whatever small gains one can glean from taking away the agency and chosen manner of living from an outed person and their loved ones– at least, not unless the person in question has enough personal power that their homophobic shoes won’t necessarily be refilled in their forced absence from the conversation on LGBTQ rights (or whatever the case may be); or that that absence, even if temporary, is long enough to stall oppressive action that the outed person was/is a part of.
Tl;dr I don’t care who you are I still think outing someone who’s chosen to remain closeted is an asshole move of debatable and limited usefulness at best. *shrugs*
But then again, I’m a cishet femme WoC with substantial lightskinned/passing privilege myself, so I’m not coming from a place where the realities of living closeted, living out, and living under the risk of being outed are mine to speak on. Anyone more (or equally, or less!) “qualified” have any thoughts?