Why we should respect people still in the closet

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acceptance, closet, sexuality, LGBT, Stephanie Hallson, Kettle Mag
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It’s 2017 and being gay or anything other than straight, is pretty much widely accepted. Many people now feel comfortable enough in society to be open and come out about their sexuality. However, there are some people that do not feel this way and have still not told anyone about their feelings and sexuality. They are still “in the closet.”

It is important when people are still in the closet, that others do not out them to people in their lives. Although you may see no problem with it, or feel like you are helping them tell people if they are too scared to- they may not be ready. 

Coming out to friends and family is a huge deal to someone, particularly if their family happens to not be LGBTQ+ friendly; and someone outing them could have consequences if it is not done in their own time. It could cause a lot of family issues for them that they may not currently be equipped to deal with.

Think before you speak

Not only could outing your friend harm their family life, but it could cause them a lot of distress and discomfort if they are not ready to tell anyone such as friends. This is because friends, although often supportive of their peers, can also gossip and often be jokingly unkind- which could be taken seriously and make the person still in the closet feel even worse about the fact they were outed.

Despite people thinking it is okay to out people, if you did decide to out people, be sure to have a discussion with that person beforehand to get an idea of what they are feeling and thinking before you do so. It may make you think twice about hurting that persons feelings.

On the other hand, if they did want to come out to others but didn't know how to, please listen to them and perhaps give them some ideas of how they can gently come out to people without making a fuss, as it can be very scary for people to do. If they do feel like it is best for someone else to tell people of their sexuality, then it is of course okay for you to out them if you have permission. 

In short, it is 2017. Respect people who may still be in the closet with their sexuality. Please do not ever out someone without their permission because you do not know the internal damage it can cause someone and/or their family.

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Writer for Kettle Magazine. Journalism student at University of St Mark and St John. All views are my own.