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.
ExamplesAnime 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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