Sensitvity for closeted LGBTQ members

Autumn Kunkel and Autumn Kunkel

Last weekend, I witnessed an instance of profound cruelty that previously I’d only read about in articles.

It involved a loved one, someone who I hold very dear to me. For the sake of this article, I’ll refer to her as “Anna.”

Anna happens to be a not-so-out bisexual and in a serious relationship with a female. Unfortunately, this information was passed on without her permission and the result has been devastating.

With her consent, I intend to write about her story in an effort to demonstrate the severity of an unwilling outing, as well the consequences that come with this action.

As mentioned above, Anna is not completely out of the closet, and she has been keeping her same-sex relationship very quiet, save for her closest friends and a few select family members.

Unfortunately, someone who she just so happens to live with — I’ll call her Karen — found out about her girlfriend and passed that information on to her own friends, people who Anna is not even in association with.

What’s worse, upon being confronted for her wrongdoing, Karen simply smiled, rolled her eyes and explained how it wasn’t a big deal. In her eyes, she had done nothing wrong.

Before I go into detail about why she was, in fact, wrong for outing my loved one, let me give her perspective [to the best of my ability] on why she was right.

In her eyes, her friends weren’t saying anything nasty to Anna about the relationship, they weren’t being threatening and they weren’t being rude.

This is true, but that’s not the issue.

Perhaps her friends aren’t homophobic and they could care less about the relationship, but the fact of the matter is that she indirectly obtained the information about the relationship and then spread it to people who are not even close to this person that I hold so dear.

This is called “outing,” and in a world which almost fully accepts open discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community, it is simply a cruel thing to do. The process of coming out and coming to terms with one’s sexuality, especially one with so many ramifications attached to it, can be slow and painful depending on how much support one feels they have from their friends and family.

When someone who is not fully comfortable with their identity unwillingly gets “outed,” the result can be detrimental.

For Anna, she’s found that her anxiety has worsened.

She’s been constantly worried about the information spreading, as her private life is in the hands of people who have no incentive to keep it to themselves.

Coming from a strictly religious and conservative family, she knows she would have little support; if they were to find out, who knows what might happen?

No one is physically or verbally harming her, but there have still been emotional consequences.

Perhaps this instance did not get physical or hateful, but across the country there have been a number of different outcomes due to unwilling outings.

All across the nation, members of the LGBTQ community are left homeless, subjected to hate crimes and in extreme cases even killed simply for being who they are.

This makes it even more important that people understand it is absolutely unjustifiable to spread a person’s sexuality around if they are not, in fact, already open about it.

It is absolutely no one’s business and to perform such an action, to share this very crucial information about an individual which could cause them serious harm, without their consent is nothing short of callous and deserves serious reprimanding.

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