The dangerous message media outlets like Gawker send when they out people

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By German Lopez
July 17, 2015

Gawker on Thursday published (and on Friday took down) a controversial story apparently outing a married man who, the story claimed, hired a male escort behind his wife’s back. The story had many problems — including the question of whether the subject is prominent enough to be covered at all. But for the LGBTQ community in particular, the story brings back memories of people effectively weaponizing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity for blackmail and other threats.

This is not some sort of theoretical problem for LGBTQ people. This was particularly common in the 1980s and ’90s, when society was less accepting of LGBTQ rights and outing someone could ruin a person’s life and career. And it’s a major concern that, as a gay man, I have heard from nearly every LGBTQ person I have personally interacted with in my life. Whether it’s the threat of being outed as a teenager or as an adult, the fear that your sexual orientation or gender identity will be used as a weapon against you is a horrifying possibility.

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