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Should You Come Out?
By: Therese Jansen

Outing -- What do you think of the practice? Is it the right thing to do in all cases? Is it right to do at any time? Is it fair to out someone? Would you out someone under any circumstances? What a politically charged action and word. Some folks have done it for political reasons -- claiming that a closeted politician was hurting their Gay/Lesbian constituents and the public should know. Some folks have been outed out of spite. And some folks insist there is nothing wrong with mentioning someone else is gay/lesbian -- it is as benign a statement as any other bit of information on a person's life. Finally, there are others who will insist that it is nobody's business, so it should not be discussed. Well... Let's take a look...

It is nobody's business. Well, for the most part, I guess it is not anyone's business who you are dating or living with or feeling love toward. It may not be -- but ...

...When someone finds herself in love and all giddy and giggly, how do they keep from yelling it from rooftops? How do you stop yourself from glowing with feeling when you are together? How does anyone? And is it fair to expect someone to contain her emotions to that degree? It sure is not natural to hide those feelings. No one ever had to force herself to mention the name of the person they love.

Let's be honest with ourselves though. Those who are not out are facing some very serious issues. Being forced to hide your feelings is pretty extreme. Is it natural to hide your love from your friends and family or even from the public? It may not be natural to hide feelings or even fair to expect it -- but, when considering coming out to family or friends, the decision to come out should be left to the discretion of the person involved.

However, when we discuss how the media swarms all over celebrities' lives -- we must address the issue of how much is fair game? We are treated with information on who is dating who, who married who, who is divorcing who, and so on. Nothing is kept from the media and they in turn feel the need to share all of it with us. We know which couples are not married but have children together. We know which couples cheated on their spouses in order to get together. We know every dirty little secret that can be told, except... (whisper) so-and-so is a lesbian. The media suddenly respects the celebrity's privacy and does not share that information with the public. Hell, there are some celebrities who everyone knows are lesbians (or gay), yet no media outlet will out them by so little as mentioning their date/lover/spouse.

... I think we can agree this argument is lacking in reasonable substance, as well as the fact that it sends a message of shame.

Is It Right To Talk About Someone's Sexuality? Is It Fair? I guess first we have to determine the standard of what is private and what is public knowledge. In today's social climate, no one hesitates to discuss who is dating who, etc, etc. In order to answer the question in the negative, we would have to declare anything other than the norm to be wrong or shameful. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am not prepared to make that declaration.

I think it is time we put this question to bed. It is time to begin discussing same-gendered couples in the same matter-of-fact manner as we do heterosexual couples. After all, if we are not willing to treat ourselves equally, how can we expect the rest of the world to do so?

Until next time...


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