Privacy and Outing

  • Gordon A. Babst
Part of the AMINTAPHIL: The Philosophical Foundations of Law and Justice book series (AMIN, volume 8)


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.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA

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