Privacy and Outing
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Some elected officials have been both closeted and homophobic, supporting anti-gay policies and laws at every opportunity, even trumpeting their anti-gay voting record to constituents. While their choice to be closeted may be protected by privacy, an aspect of broader liberty, may they at the same time be outed without violating their right to privacy? Some members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community have chosen to express their autonomy in a different way: by being out, yet being out in a homophobic society with its anti-gay policies and laws has entailed risks that impinge on this autonomy and on the freedom to participate as an equal citizen in a society that was foreclosed as much possible by the closeted homophobic elected public official who helps to maintain a system that accords him money, privilege, and power at a cost he is apparently willing to bear. This is an asymmetrical relationship in which the choice of the gay but homophobic lawmaker to be closeted is protected but incompatible with the autonomy of others, namely, of gay individuals and the LGBT community as a whole who are negatively by the laws and policies the former advocates for. This asymmetry, based on a fraudulent pretense, contributes to the injustice at work and affects the political process for gay-citizen participants that outing rightly seeks to rectify.
American Politics | Civil Rights and Discrimination | Gender and Sexuality | Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Other Law | Politics and Social Change | Sexuality and the Law
Babst, Gordon. 2018. 'Privacy and Outing'. In Core Concepts and Contemporary Issues in Privacy, Cham: Springer, 219-233.