Privacy and Outing

Chapter
Part of the AMINTAPHIL: The Philosophical Foundations of Law and Justice book series (AMIN, volume 8)

Abstract

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 their 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 apparently is 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 impacted 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.

References

  1. Beachy R (2015) Gay Berlin: birthplace of a modern identity. Alfred A. Knopf, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Blasius M (1994) Gay and lesbian politics: sexuality and the emergence of a new ethic. Temple University Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  3. Blasius M, Phelan S (eds) (1997) We are everywhere: a historical sourcebook of gay and lesbian politics. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Bok S (1999) Lying: moral choice in public and private life. Vintage Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Boling P (1996) Privacy and the politics of intimate life. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  6. Brownworth V (1990) Should gays be forced to come out of the closet? Philly August 25, 1990, online at http://articles.philly.com/1990-08-25/news/25932558_1_gay-conservatives-heterosexual-outing
  7. Crimp D (1993) Right on, girlfriend! In: Warner M (ed) Fear of a queer planet. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 300–320Google Scholar
  8. Friedman L (1990) The republic of choice: law, authority, and culture. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Gross L (1993) Contested closets: the politics and ethics of outing. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  10. Halley J (1989) The politics of the closet: towards equal protection of gay, lesbian, and bisexual identity. UCLA Law Rev 36:915–976Google Scholar
  11. Inness J (1992) Privacy, intimacy, and isolation. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Johansson W, Percy W (1994) Outing: shattering the conspiracy of silence. Harrington Park Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. McCarthy J (1994) The closet and the ethics of outing. In: Murphy T (ed) Gay ethics. Harrington Park Press, Binghamton, pp 27–45Google Scholar
  14. Mohr R (1992) Gay ideas: outing and other controversies. Beacon Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
  15. Moran L (1996) The homosexual(ity) of law. Routledge, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Murphy T (ed) (1994) Gay ethics: controversies in outing, civil rights, and sexual science. Harrington Park Press, BinghamtonGoogle Scholar
  17. O’Brien D (1979) Privacy, law, and public policy. Praeger, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Parent W (1983) Recent work on the concept of privacy. Am Philos Q 20(4):341–355Google Scholar
  19. Rosenblatt R (1993) Who killed privacy? http://www.nytimes.com/1993/01/31/magazine/who-killed-privacy. Accessed 8 June 2016
  20. Rubenfeld J (1989) The right of privacy. Harv Law Rev 102(4):737–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Samar V (1991) The right to privacy: gays, lesbians, and the constitution. Temple University Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  22. Sedgwick E (1990) Epistemology of the closet. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  23. Shilts R (1997) Is “outing” gays ethical? In: Blasius M, Phelan S (eds) We are everywhere. Routledge, New York, pp 767–769Google Scholar
  24. Signorile M (1997) Who should open the closet door? In: Blasius M, Phelan S (eds) We are everywhere. Routledge, New York, pp 769–770Google Scholar
  25. Signorile M (2015) It’s not over: getting beyond tolerance, defeating homophobia, and winning true equality. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, BostonGoogle Scholar
  26. Steinmetz K (2016) Uncle Sam wants to know how many LGBT people there are in America. Time 187(21):21–22Google Scholar
  27. Thomas K (1992) Beyond the privacy principle. Columbia Law Rev 92(6):1431–1516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Vaid U (1995) Virtual equality: the mainstreaming of gay and lesbian liberation. Anchor, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Warner M (ed) (1993) Fear of a queer planet: queer politics and social theory. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  30. Warren SD, Brandeis LD (1890) The right to privacy. Harv Law Rev 4(5):193–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Young I (1990) Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA

Personalised recommendations