josh rosner

Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

WHY OUTING CLOSETED PUBLIC FIGURES IS MORALLY JUSTIFIABLE

In Gay Rights on March 10, 2011 at 2:34 am

I had published today on The Drum a piece about why outing closeted public figures – particularly hypocritical clergy and politicians – who masquerade as happily married men, and vote against legislation that would assist the gay community or preach hatred from the pulpit while living life in the closet, should be outed. I argue this isn’t a privacy issue. ‘Gayness’ now has well-established acceptance in the wider community. So, naming some as gay should not be an issue. Nor should naming someone as straight. It’s not a privacy issue. It is, however, an issue of hypocrisy and damage.

I’ve been thinking about this issue for a long time and I’ve continually oscillated between one side and the other. People have a right to privacy, on the one hand, weighted against the value and importance of people being out. With the senseless murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato in January this year, I started to give some serious thought to where I stand on outing. Clearly in his case – although he was already out – outing would be wrong. It is wrong in any scenario in which a potential consequence is death. So, I draw a line. But it was the visit of American writer and gay rights activist Amistead Maupin who finally made up my mind. Maupin is emphatic in his support for outing and his arguments are compelling.

The closet is insidious and highly dangerous. And it helps nobody, including the closeted person.

Outing closeted public figures, I argue, is not only morally justifiable. It is a moral imperative.

You can read it here.