Created By: Katsuhagi on July 7, 2012 Last Edited By: lakingsif on September 23, 2015
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Forced Out Of The Closet

When someone is outed as LGBT against their will

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Trope
A variation on the Coming-Out Story where someone is outed, but not by their own choice. Usually it's the actions of another person who either inadvertently or purposefully outs them. Sometimes the outer has good intentions, while other times it's good old blackmail or simple jerkassery. Among real-life LGBT people, outing someone who's not ready is considered very bad form, especially since it can literally endanger someone's life. Being forced out of the closet will come hand in hand with Gayngst.

Whilst this kind of storyline can be well used for creating drama and imparting morals, if not done well it may alienate an LGBT Fanbase.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Fumiya from Hourou Musuko accidentally outs Nitori as being transgender, or at least someone who wears crossdresses, around her new middle school friends.

Comic Books
  • Renee Montoya of Gotham Central was outed by Two-Face, and it had a catastrophic effect on her professional and personal lives.
  • In Runaways, Karolina Dean is driven to out herself as a lesbian in front of all of her friends in an attempt to get Xavin to leave her alone. Xavin is nonplussed, saying that gender is fluid for their species.

Film — Live Action
  • In Sweet Home Alabama Reese Witherspoon's character, Melanie, outs Bobby Rae (possibly her best friend) as gay —to a bar full of mutual friends in rural Alabama— while in a drunken tirade brought on from frustration at her Southern roots. Apparently no one really cared and there was a Pair the Spares where Melanie's gay friend from New York and Bobby Rae Hooked Up Afterwards.
  • In & Out has Howard, a high school English teacher in a small town, is outed by a former student live on national TV as he accepts an Oscar. Problem - Howard isn't gay. He eventually realizes he is gay by the end of the film.
  • GBF has Tanner and Brent, both closeted homosexuals, download an app for tracking other homosexuals onto Tanner's phone. Girls from their school track Tanner's signal down, and Tanner tries to stop them in public — and failing, revealing to the whole school that he's gay. Upset about this forced outing, he confronts Brent later, and in a fit of petty rage outs Brent to his mother.

Literature
  • Discussed Truth in Television example in The Atrocity Archive. Back in the day in the UK it was illegal to be gay, which meant gays working in the British intelligence community (including the Laundry) were vulnerable to blackmail (i.e. "work for me or I'll blow the whistle on you"). Nowadays the Laundry just requires you to be openly gay, the idea being that you can't be blackmailed if you aren't hiding anything. Hence Bob's Camp Gay flatmate Pinky drags his Straight Gay partner Brains out to Gay Pride once a year to maintain their security clearances.
  • The Heroes of Olympus has an encounter with the Cupid, the god of love, end this way — Cupid refuses to help them until Nico di Angelo is true to himself, essentially forcing the character to admit their homosexuality.

Live-Action TV
  • In Glee, both Santana and Karofsky are outed against their will.
    • When Finn and Santana are having an argument in "Mash Off", he tells her to come out in the middle of the hallway. When everyone stares at them, he continues attacking her for loving Brittany. It's later revealed in "I Kissed A Girl" that a student went and told her uncle, who is running a TV commercial outing her to the whole state in order to discredit the school. She is then threatened with rape around school. In her wedding vows she includes "I've been outed and bullied".
    • Karofsky moves school in season 3 but still meets up with Kurt to try and woo him — when a footballer from his new, more homophobic school, sees them talking he assumes the worst and texts the team, resulting in his locker being spray painted "FAG" and everyone finding out before cyberbullying him and causing him attempt suicide but not succeed in "On My Way".
  • In Barney Miller, a recurring cop character is gay. Everyone in the squad knows but they all basically agree not to say anything, especially to Internal Affairs. Then one time when Wojo is getting hounded by IA over some trifling thing he accidentally blurts it out.
  • Showed up a few times in Law & Order. Either the victim was being threatened with outing or the killer was or one of the red herrings.
  • One episode of CSI featured a football player who was outed during an investigation. One of the straight female investigators gets called out on this, but she fails to see why it's such a big deal.
  • In Veronica Mars there's one episode where Veronica investigates blackmail letters that certain students have been receiving, including one girl whose gay status would be revealed if she did not pay up. When Veronica figures things out, she discovers that the perp was a gay student who just wanted to out her girlfriend so they could be together in public.
  • Liz Lemon drunkenly outs her cousin on 30 Rock.
  • Drew Boyd in the U.S. adaptation of Queer as Folk. A blackmailer sent incriminating photos of him to a tabloid, prompting Drew to make a public statement about his sexuality. But he never would've done that if he hadn't felt forced.
  • In Pretty Little Liars, Emily's boyfriend Ben catches her kissing her new neighbor, Maya, and calls them "fucking dykes". Later, pictures of Emily and Maya kissing are shown to the whole town.
  • The Commish: An off-duty closeted police officer is a witness to a gay bashing incident. Tony strongly encourages him to write up a report, which the officer says will force him out. He does so, and then is beaten by the same group of gay bashers.

Web Comics
  • El Goonish Shive
    • In the Back Story, Justin was outed by his friend Melissa, who falls under the "accidental" type in that he'd come out to her and then she'd told her sister, who was the town's gossip. He was extremely mad at her for this for years afterwards, and was especially pissed that his own parents found out after overhearing people gossip at the grocery store.
    • And Nanase's plan to keep her relationship with Ellen a secret gets demolished when her mother bursts into her hospital room and sees them kissing. In an aversion, Nanase's mother really doesn't care — she thinks it's a phase.
  • On Venus Envy, Lisa was outed by Grace before the beginning of the plot, and Zoe is outed by accident to several people throughout the course of the comic.
  • Shay from Between the Lines outs a former bully of hers as a trans girl in front of Dani.
  • Yoona from Welcome To Room 305 is outed as being gay by her brother in front of Hom and Jung Hyun. Hom, who is gay himself, notes this is not a proper way to come out and facepalms while the homophobic protagonist is just in stunned silence. Yoon Sung's intentions were good however he did it incorrectly. Yoona is deeply closeted and self-hating, Yoon Sung had been pretending to be gay in order for her to accept her sexuality, and they were having an argument about him being gay.

Western Animation
  • Stan in American Dad! told the father of one of his neighbors his son was gay, and it turns out that the son was pretty open about it except with his dad.


Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • July 7, 2012
    Earnest
    • Sweet Home Alabama (Not a typo, without the Film namespace it redirects to a trope= had Reese Witherspoon's character, Melanie, out Bobby Rae (possibly her best friends) as gay --to a bar full of mutual friends in rural Alabama-- while in a drunken tirade brought on from frustration at her southern roots. It's okay though, apparently no one really cared and there was a Pair The Spares where Melanie's gay friend from New York and Bobby Rae Hooked Up Afterwards.
  • July 7, 2012
    Antigone3
    Can someone clarify "outting someone who's not reading"?
  • July 7, 2012
    Earnest
    It's just a typo for "outing someone who's not ready".
  • July 7, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Stan (in American Dad) told the father of one of his neighbors his son was gay. the son was pretty open about it except with his dad
  • July 7, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • In And Out would be the Most Triumphant Example (if we still listed those). Howard, a high school English teacher in a small town, is outed by a former student live on national TV as he accepts an Oscar. Problem - Howard isn't gay. He eventually realizes he is gay by the end of the film.
    • Barney Miller: A recurring cop character is gay. Everyone in the squad knows but they all basically agree not to say anything, espeically to Internal Affairs. Then one time when Wojo is getting hounded by IA over some trifling thing he accidentlly blurts it out.
  • July 8, 2012
    surgoshan
    • Showed up a few times in Law And Order. Either the victim was being threatened with outing or the killer was or one of the red herrings. They played with it a bit.
  • July 9, 2012
    arromdee
    Make sure to add No real life examples...
  • July 9, 2012
    animeg3282
    Ah...I was going to add an example from The Rachel Maddow Show
  • July 9, 2012
    tyrekecorrea
    Yeah,it can lead to serious Flame Bait and get ugly, so No Real Life Examples Please
  • July 9, 2012
    CharacterInWhite
    • Veronica Mars: There's one episode where Veronica investigates blackmail letters that certain students have been receiving, including one girl whose gay status would be revealed if she did not pay up. When Veronica figures things out, she discovers that the perp was a gay student who just wanted to out her girlfriend so they could be together in public.
  • July 13, 2012
    Waterlily
    The title character is Milk forces a member of his team to come out to his father-something he still hadn't done.

    I know it's based on a true story but the example is from the film and I don't even know if it happened in real life.
  • July 15, 2012
    CastingCrowns
    Liz Lemon drunkenly outs her cousin on 30Rock.
  • July 27, 2012
    Earnest
    Is it okay if I launch this?
  • July 27, 2012
    captainpat
    ^ Should probably ask the sponsor. Also, it needs to be organized before launching
  • July 27, 2012
    spellraiser
    The usual spelling is outed, not outted.
  • May 21, 2014
    DAN004
    "Outed"? Never heard it as a verb before...
  • May 21, 2014
    Synchronicity
    ^It's definitely used, especially in the LGBT community.
  • May 21, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ what does it mean, exactly?
  • May 21, 2014
    Arivne
  • May 21, 2014
    TwoGunAngel
    @DAN 004: The Coming Out Story is primarily about "coming out of the closet" — revealing publicly that one is gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender. Most of the time, it's a choice that the LGBT person themselves make. "Outing" is when someone else does this for them — in other words, forcing said person out of the closet.
  • May 21, 2014
    reub2000
    I think the title should simply be "Outted". I think it's known well enough.
  • May 21, 2014
    DAN004
    Dem LGBT terms, I never make sense of them...
  • May 21, 2014
    TwoGunAngel
    If nothing else, "Outed" does make for a nice redirect.
  • May 21, 2014
    highcastle
    • Drew Boyd in the U.S. adaptation of Queer As Folk. A blackmailer sent incriminating photos of him to a tabloid, prompting Drew to make a public statement about his sexuality. But he never would've done that if he hadn't felt forced.
  • May 21, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    In And Out example should be on the Live Action Film section, not TV. Just a minor nitpick.
  • May 21, 2014
    StarSword
    Simply "Outed" is too general and could refer to somebody being outed as roughly anything.

    Literature:
    • Discussed Truth In Television example in The Atrocity Archive. Back in the day in the UK it was illegal to be gay, which meant gays working in the British intelligence community (including the Laundry) were vulnerable to blackmail (i.e. "work for me or I'll blow the whistle on you"). Nowadays the Laundry just requires you to be openly gay, the idea being that you can't be blackmailed if you aren't hiding anything. Hence Bob's Camp Gay flatmate Pinky drags his Straight Gay partner Brains out to Gay Pride once a year to maintain their security clearances.

    Also, are we allowing real life examples?
  • May 21, 2014
    Earnest
  • May 21, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Moved In and Out to Film, which it is.
  • May 22, 2014
    reub2000
    Simply "Outed" is too general and could refer to somebody being outed as roughly anything.

    Closeted can also refer to hiding many different things from hobbies to views. Both "out" and "closeted" without any other words are widely understood to apply to LGBT individuals.

    Also, I don't think the Milk example counts.
  • May 23, 2014
    Pichu-kun
    • Fumiya from Hourou Musuko accidentally outs Nitori as being transgender, or at least someone who wears crossdresses, around her new middle school friends.
  • May 24, 2014
    jormis29
    Film — Live Action

    • GBF has Tanner and Brent, both closeted homosexuals, download an app for tracking other homosexuals onto Tanner's phone. Girls from their school track Tanner's signal down, and Tanner tries to stop them in public — and failing, revealing to the whole school that he's gay. Upset about this forced outing, he confronts Brent later, and in a fit of petty rage outs Brent to his mother.

    Literature

    • The Heroes Of Olympus has an encounter with the Cupid, the god of love, end this way — Cupid refuses to help them until Nico di Angelo is true to himself, essentially forcing the character to admit their homosexuality.

  • September 13, 2015
    Pichu-kun
    • Yoona from Welcome To Room 305 is outed as being gay by her brother in front of Hom and Jung Hyun. Hom, who is gay himself, notes this is not a proper way to come out and facepalms while the homophobic protagonist is just in stunned silence. Yoon Sung's intentions were good however he did it incorrectly. Yoona is deeply closeted and self-hating, Yoon Sung had been pretending to be gay in order for her to accept her sexuality, and they were having an argument about him being gay.
    • Shay from Between The Lines outs a former bully of hers as a trans girl in front of Dani.
  • September 13, 2015
    lakingsif
    I'd say give the description a mention of Gayngst, how doing this badly will alienate an LGBT Fanbase, and then launch it with "Forcibly Outed" as a redirect.
  • September 13, 2015
    qazwsx
    • In Pretty Little Liars, Emily's boyfriend Ben catches her kissing her new neighbor, Maya, and calls them "fucking dykes". Later, pictures of Emily and Maya kissing are shown to the whole town.
  • September 13, 2015
    Kartoonkid95
    • If real-life examples are allowed, then it was when Tom Hanks accidentally outed his former drama teacher in 1993 in his acceptance speech for Philadelphia, which directly inspired the In & Out example above.
  • September 13, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Comic Books
    • In Runaways, Karolina Dean is driven to out herself as a lesbian in front of all of her friends in an attempt to get Xavin to leave her alone. Xavin is nonplussed, saying that gender is fluid for their species.
  • September 14, 2015
    SvartiKotturinn
    • On Venus Envy, Lisa was outed by Grace before the beginning of the plot, and ZoĆ« is outed by accident to several people throughout the course of the comic.
  • September 22, 2015
    lakingsif
    Is this being edited or launched?
  • September 23, 2015
    Arivne
    ^ The OP Katsuhagi is still on TV Tropes - they last edited on September 19th.

    However, after creating this proposal in 2012 they never posted here again, so they immediately lost interest in it. It's been Up For Grabs since 2012.
  • September 23, 2015
    randomsurfer
    The Commish: An off-duty closeted police officer is a witness to a gay bashing incident. Tony strongly encourages him to write up a report, which the officer says will force him out. He does so, and then is beaten by the same group of gay bashers.
  • September 23, 2015
    lakingsif
    updated, launch ready?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=o2jeo2d20pxxvs2m4nqu56xn