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.
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.
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.
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.