What would you do if you thought that someone might threaten to out you because of a disagreement between the two of you?

I honestly have no idea. I’ve had guys out me before because of their own political ideology and it’s awful. I’d probably deny it. I don’t like lying, but if I could get away with it I would. It’s more important to me to be seen as just another guy by my larger community than it is to be 100% honest.

Ask me anything

7 Replies to “What would you do if you thought that someone might threaten to out you because of a disagreement between the two of you?”

  1. In some EU countries, outing a trans person with changed papers is illegal as far as I know. I don’t know it is in the US, but maybe you could find out and threaten to get that person into legal trouble.

    • That law exists only in DC for the US. And it’s never actually been tested (fairly new law under the DC Human Rights Act) so we don’t know if it would work for a random person outing someone. Part of the problem is since it’s never been done before it’d be a fairly high profile case and if your entire point is not wanting to be outed…well, the media attention wouldn’t be pleasant.

      Everywhere else outing someone is perfectly legal. Rude, but legal. Which, as much as I hate it, I understand. We’re a country where you can call a black person a n*gger and give a church sermon saying all gay people are going to hell. Having a law banning outing would be considered crossing the line to many Americans.

  2. Over here it’s covered under some privacy laws I think. I’m pretty certain that people who find out about your status by way of their jobs are not allowed to disclose that status (teachers, police, press etc)
    The thing is, with referring to that privacy law, people have successfully stopped private aquaintances from outing them. I’m not even sure if the law cover private outings, but it sounds impressive enough to stop people from trying anything. Maybe check out if there are *any* general laws that prohibit disclosing private information (law against slander or whatever), and just pretend that it covers outing people. You need to sound convicing when you tell them about that law.
    But all in all, it’s probably very difficult to stop that kind of thing if you don’t want to threaten the person into silence.
    If all fails, I agee that denying might be worth a shot.

    • The thing with threats is that you have to be able to back them up. The laws have to actually be in place in case they don’t take the threat seriously. If not you just gave everyone else who may want to threaten you even more ammunition.

      (And for reference, it’s only slander if it’s not true. Saying I’m a paedophile is slander. Saying I’m trans is simple fact even if I don’t want people to know. It’s how the news isn’t constantly being sued by politicians.)

    • That sort of tactic doesn’t work terribly well on Americans. If you tell an American something’s illegal, or threaten them with legal action if they do something, their response is (almost universally) going to be defiance. “You can’t do that” is almost always met with “Watch me.”

      Re: NA, I’m not sure what I’d do either. I’m not currently stealth (still transitioning in place) so it’s not a concern for me yet, but if/when I do go stealth…kind of a scary thought.

      • Yeah, that’s why I said you have to be able to back up the threat. We’re a stubborn bunch of bastards, it’s not so easy to just scare us into submission. Useful sometimes, pain in the ass at others.

        Bluffing is a possibility. Requires enough confidence and acting skills to pull it off, but I’ve used it for other things. Laugh, ask how they’d prove it, walk away. Do not, under any circumstances, show fear. It does require keeping up the act if they call your bluff, but if you can manage it (and the area is safe enough that you don’t immediately have to run away) it can be an incredibly powerful tactic.

  3. Yep, people over here are more submissive under the law. But it also has the effect that people realize it’s not a private matter, but changed papers mean that trans people are recognized and protected by the law, and that works sometimes, esp if they didn’t take you seriously before.
    Whatever you do, the bluffing thing is the most important strategy I think. Stay calm. Also have some backup strategies in place, should they out you anyway. Think about worst case scenarios beforehand and don’t panic. Often being out is not *that* bad (in the sense of totally life threatening catastrophic). I think the best defense is always when you can say: So what? and walk away.

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