I put the following as my Facebook status today.
Dear fellow progressives,
Don’t out gay people, even if they’re antigay. Don’t tell a successful woman she owes her success to feminism, even if she says she’s not feminist. (This is happening right now, with Jonathan Merritt and Marissa Mayer). And so on. If you publicly shame someone for hypocrisy, you’re holding their identity against them to shut them up. What kind of mentality is that?
As a queer rights tactic, outing won’t work well against conservative Christianity. We all know that if someone is loudly antigay, they’re probably queer in some way. But if they’re outed, they may be afraid and shut up, or they be given expert authority when they say things, like Matt Moore: “I’ve been gay, and the gay lifestyle is awful.”
Please share if you agree, or this made you think, or you think others should hear it.
One addition I should make, edited in later: the question of whether to talk about Sally Ride, the famous astronaut who just died, having been queer is, to me, a different question. It’s not great to out her without her posthumous consent, but nobody’s using that against her or (we hope) her partner, and to me it does make sense to discover who was queer in a time when closeting pressure was greater. Moreover, it only has positive effects on queer women. The issue of outing queer people is indeed complex, but I’d love to see discussion of it instead of assuming that outing should be forced on people.