Should We Be Outing Conservatives Who Are on Grindr?

Via Ask.Fm:

I just realized and [sic] saw pictures that my conservative friend is on Grindr should I out him?

There are three main areas of concern here: Your friend’s reasons for being closeted, what your friend’s “conservatism” means about him, and, most importantly, your reasons for wanting to out him.

His Reasons

In terms of being a closeted conservative, your friend is not alone: Grindr use significantly increased in Tampa when the Republican National Convention was held there, not to mention the many cases where a Republican politician was found to be engaging in same-gender sexual activity.

Your friend may be closeted for reasons that aren’t simply “LOL hypocrite!”. Maybe he is financially dependent on his family and they would cut him off without a cent if they found out he is on Grindr. Maybe he isn’t psychologically ready to deal with how the world (conservative, liberal, and neither) is going to treat him for being seen as gay. Maybe he doesn’t realize that Log Cabin Republicans are A Thing.

Freddie Mercury dressed up as Sailor Mercury, saying "Freddie Mercury powa!"
I’m glaring at you, people who call Oscar Wilde, Freddie Mercury, and other bisexuals “gay”.

It is possible that he may not even be gay. Maybe he is sexually but not romantically attracted to men. Maybe he is curious but still exploring. Society decides that men are “gay” if they’ve been known to have non-platonic contact with another man just once, even if they’ve had a million writhing orgies filled to the brim with nothing but women before and since that one time with a man (and women can’t actually love and sex up each other, amirite?). Maybe he wants to be able to explore his sexuality on his own terms without being labeled.

His Politics & Your Motives

As radically queer as I am, I’m not as unilaterally on board with outing closeted conservatives as I used to be. I watched OUTRAGE when it first came out and reacted gleefully to what I saw as justice served to hypocrites. My feelings have become a bit less clear as the years have gone by. It is rather disgusting when someone uses their power and privilege to have their cake and eat it, too. I have no qualms about outing someone who has, say, helped anti-LGBT legislation to pass while they live their lives merrily and as they please. Outing someone who identifies as a conservative but who isn’t actively pushing harm for LGBT folks, though, is a different matter.

What does it mean that he’s “conservative”? Is he one of those “fiscal conservative, social liberal” types, or is he actively posting poorly-punctuated screeds against “Sodomites”? If the former is the case, he’s a Log Cabin man waiting to happen and he’ll probably be fine, eventually. In the latter case, things obviously become more complicated.

If you’re considering outing him because you think that it will stop him in his tracks from actively harming other LGBT folks, then by all means. However, those cases are rather rare. In the more likely case that outing him won’t reduce active harm to others, what do you hope to accomplish by outing him? If the only answer you have is “So I can rub it into his smug conservative face”, you might want to consider that using someone’s sexual orientation to shame them is exactly what bigots do.

The Answer

If I were you, I wouldn’t out him but would definitely talk to him about it. That he is visible on Grindr to the point where you recognized him but not technically out-out means that what he needs the most right now is another queer person to give him a heart-to-heart. If you’re actually his friend, you are perfectly positioned to be that person. Heck, if he isn’t a baby Log Cabin type, you might even get him to reconsider his conservatism.

Sailor Freddie Mercury Image via.

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Should We Be Outing Conservatives Who Are on Grindr?
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18 thoughts on “Should We Be Outing Conservatives Who Are on Grindr?

    1. 1.1

      Yes, please. Is there some angle to this that I didn’t cover here?

      I have no qualms about outing someone who has, say, helped anti-LGBT legislation to pass while they live their lives merrily and as they please. Outing someone who identifies as a conservative but who isn’t actively pushing harm for LGBT folks, though, is a different matter.

  1. 2

    Indeed. I don’t know shy but I feel inclined to apologize for the slow rate of comments on your blog lately, as if I had the right to do that on behalf of the global internet commentariat. I blame the holidays. Blame!

    You’re more generous with conservatives than I’d ever be, but I like to think I’d show similar consideration in this kind of situation. Hm…

  2. 3

    “using someone’s sexual orientation to shame them is exactly what bigots do”
    Thank you for putting words to something that’s been nagging me for quite some time. Whenever I see people uncritically claim that “studies show homophobic conservatives are actually overcompensating for being hay, hurr hurr” it really irritates me.

    1. 3.2

      I don’t even know how that could be proven. In any case, I can postulate a cognitive mechanism by which someone who is rock-solid straight might be a homophobe as easily as I can a reason someone who is closeted might be (though it would express itself slightly differently).

  3. Pen
    4

    @2 Great American Satan

    I feel inclined to apologize for the slow rate of comments on your blog lately

    Well, Heina’s advice seemed so good there’s almost nothing to say. I’m afraid I mostly wondered whether the original questioner meant ‘friend’ as in really a friend, or just ‘nodding acquaintance’. I mean, what kind of person…?

  4. cb
    5

    I think you missed a possibility – which is that someone is not socially liberal but is, even so, living a libertine lifestyle. He might believe that what he’s doing is a sin, but be doing it anyway. Generally, I would be disgusted by ‘outing’ any but the most aggressively hypocritical person anyway, whatever they had hidden in their closet.

  5. CB
    8

    Heina,

    I’m just using this form of communication to tell you that – based on a rather bizarre conversation on Facebook – I think that you’re a very rude person.
    One who INVITES responses – by passing unflattering judgements amongst other things – and then takes offence at a response! Even at a considered and modest response.

    The essence of your rudeness lies in your non-responsiveness to how someone replies to you, both in tone and content, and your two-dimensional characterisations of other people’s behaviour. You don’t seem to mind upsetting people, which you should probably find interesting since you claim to value compassion, and you (claim to) take offence very easily, and then use that offence as an excuse for aggression.

    I’d be very surprised, now, if you considered anything I say here. Considering, however briefly, the thoughts of someone you can instead just dismiss, seems on the basis of the little I’ve seen to be alien behaviour to you.

    One generally can’t assess someone based only on internet behaviour, but, from what little I have to go by, – I thank the gods that you are not a person in a position of power over anyone else! I honestly get the impression that your behaviour towards me just now was actually sadistic – that you took pleasure in inflicting various kinds of minor hurt. If it wasn’t, then you MUST have little or no sense of emotional awareness.

    No doubt you’ll dismiss my saying this as typical male behaviour, or as behaviour typical to the wrong type of male, as if that made it somehow wrong, meant that I was incapable of reason or meant that my emotions are somehow less valid than other people’s.

    Yours most sincerely,
    as far as he is aware,
    Christopher.

    PS. I don’t expect you to post this – although I’ve seen a similar comment on here, indicative of a pattern of behaviour on your part, – so don’t think I’m trying to challenge or humiliate you or somesuch.

    1. CB
      8.1

      And don’t think that you are required to reply, and that by not replying you are snubbing me. Reply if you want to – but, if you have nothing nice to say, please don’t bother.

      For your information – outside of Loonwatch, I’ve never had ANYTHING quite like this on the internet. Maybe it’s a comedy of manners, an Anglo-American thing. Or just an American thing. Or related to political outlooks. Or maybe it’s about small clannish internet communities and how the introduction of these has affected the thinking and behaviour of human beings. Whatever. Most people seem to like me (or at least, my behaviour when it comes to discussion on the web.)

      1. My comment policy asks that you stay on-topic with your comments, but also that you get 3 chances to not mess up. So this is your first warning: Please keep blog comments germane to the post topic. This isn’t the place for personal beefs. There are multiple methods of contact for me plastered all over the Internet. Feel free to contact me there.

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