OUTED: What Is The Damage Caused?

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Photo from Nikkietutorials “I’m Coming Out” video.

Jianna Harrison, Writer

When it comes to being LGBTQ+, as a whole we have been making great strides. But unfortunately, there is an issue that hasn’t been addressed properly. Ideally, when LGBTQ+ people feel comfortable in their skin, and the people they are surrounded by, they get to tell their loved ones about their sexuality and/or identity as a person. This is supposed to be liberating and provide a breath of fresh air for them, now that they can finally live as themselves, but sometimes this isn’t the case. There is backlash, whether it be mentally or emotionally, and can even go as far as abuse.

 

 But there exists a different type of problem of coming out, which is not coming out at all. Instead of you coming out to other people on your own terms, somebody else does it for you, or even worse, forces you to come out before you feel prepared to do it. This action is called “Outing” somebody. 

 

More and more in media prominent figures come out, such as Jonathan Van Ness and Lil Nas X, and the media has been celebrating it; not acknowledging sometimes the star has come out under terms that either pressured them to do so to avoid backlash or further harassment about the subject. After further study, apparently being outed or blackmailed about your sexuality has been around since the dawn of history. According to ThoughtCo and LGBTQ+ oriented paper, GayStarNews, Roman emperors were subject to being outed, then losing their rank, and was a common put down.

 

Nikkietutorials, aka Nikkie de Jager,  a very successful makeup artist and YouTuber, recently came out as a trans-woman. However, she did not do it by her own will. During the video she said,  “That choice was taken away from me.” And revealed later in the video that she was blackmailed to come out, or that her pre-transition photos would be leaked to the public. De Jager took it all in stride though, and made a very pointed comment and gesture addressing her blackmailers.

 

Though De Jager took her situation in stride, the same cannot be said of other LGBTQ+ people, who are put in danger just by expressing their identities normally. They could be bullied in school, ostracized by their classmates, and face mistreatment by adults who do not support them. Outing affects the LGBTQ+ youth terribly, who still struggle today. If you have friends that are LGBTQ+, make sure to support and listen to them, about their experiences, and about what makes them feel comfortable and uncomfortable. Representation is important, but it is nothing without education. Educate yourself, and then try to make an effort to help the LGBTQ+ youth around you.