It’s time to observe another odd installment at our LGBTI alphabet, this time brought to you by the letter ‘O’…
While for many coming out has been a positive experience, there are those for whom this hasn’t been the case. Often this is because they’ve been a victim of being outed before they were ready.
So what exactly is ‘outing’? It is simply the act of disclosing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity without the person’s consent. Outing gives rise to numerous issues of privacy, free choice, hypocrisy, and harm.
Prominent figures in society such as athletes, well-known politicians, celebrities sometimes get outed against their will, either by a ravenous media, by opponents to the LGBTI rights movement, or even by activists within the LGBTI community is a controversial political tactic against someone seen as a hypocrite for being gay yet voting or acting against measures which benefit our communities.
The first public outing scandal of the twentieth century can be traced to Germany’s Harden-Eulenburg affair of 1907-1909, which saw left-wing journalists opposed to Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II’s policies outing a number of prominent members of his cabinet and inner circle staring with Maximilian Harden’s indictment of Prince Eulenburg. Another notable outing was that Adolf Hitler’s closest ally Ernst Rohm in the early 1930’s.
In the 1950’s publications such as the Confidential specialised in revealing the scandalous information about public figures both political and those in the entertainment industry. Elsewhere, the practice continues to this day, most disturbingly in countries where homosexuality is criminalised.
‘Outing’ has also been used throughout history when sodomy was illegal to hunt down LGBTI people in much the same way that the Salem witch hunts took place.
After the Stonewall riots of 1969, people from within the LGBTI community, frustrated by their more cautious peers, begin to ‘out’ their fellow brothers and sisters. During this period many from the community marched the streets crying out “Out of the closets, Into the streets!” Some began to demand that all homosexuals come out, and if there were those that were not willing to do so, then it was the community’s responsibility to do it for them. Needless to say this was met with great opposition and negativity.
So there may be many motives for outing someone. But the fact of the matter is, coming out is a personal decision that should be left to the individual. Taking that free choice away can put the person concerned in a position where they are not ready to deal with the ramifications and can have negative effects on their everyday life, leading to serious psychological damage.
While it is important to share the message that everyone should feel free to be themselves, it is just as important that they are allowed to do that in their own time and are encouraged with positivity and support by the people around them.
These days, Sydney gays love to thump Oxford Street. “It’s dead,” they lament, as another iconic business they hadn’t set foot in since 2004 bites the dust. It’s just not ours anymore, cries the twenty-something who’s just seen two girls brawling on the corner of Crown Street.
It’s true – along blocks of the Gay ‘Golden’ Mile, every second shop appears empty, as much-loved businesses say a sorrowful goodbye. Rents are high, and with a decline in retail, especially in the colder months, the strip’s stores can’t compete with the Westfield malls that bookend Oxford Street.
But the local council is trying its best to draw people back in. Over the past few months we’ve seen creative little pop-up stores make their mark, a sustainable market prove popular in Taylor Square on Saturday mornings, and art instillations inspire visiting Instagrammers. There’s lots more to come. Oxford Street is still home to Australia’s highest concentration of gay bars and clubs, plus there’s great food to be had anytime you duck down one of the strip’s several sidestreets. New apartment buildings – some plush, some small and affordable for singles – still continue to open up, attracting new gay residents to the local area.
So don’t give up on Oxford Street just yet… it’s still our place. And not just on Mardi Gras night.
Some people fond themselves drawn not to other people, but to inanimate objects as targets for their romantic advances.
They feel the same way others might feel about their partners – an intense attraction and sexual energy towards an object, which may be a piece of furniture, a building, a particular hobby item, or any manner of other things.
The best-known object-sexual is Erika Eiffel, who ‘married’ the Eiffel Tower in 2007 and set up the Objectrum Sexuality website the following year. She’s still a spokesperson for the alternative sexuality, and since she went public, says she’s now met over a dozen others with similar traits to her.
“Being OS is all I have ever known and I am not being hurt or held back, nor is anyone around me,” she says. “My life has been very rich and I have achieved many personal goals empowered by the loving connection I have with what are otherwise known as inanimate objects.”
A recent documentary about Objectum Sexuality is shown below.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Oscar is arguably history’s most quotable gay man. His plays – including The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband and Lady Windermere’s Fan, are full of wicked witticisms, and his stories for children – especially The Happy Prince – are achingly beautiful.
Even during his own era of the turn of the 20th century, Wilde’s stories were adored, but that didn’t stop the authorities cracking down on his illicit homosexual affairs, punishing him with jail for ‘Gross Indecency’ – described in court from Wilde’s one writing as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’. Two years’ hard labour did not suit his delicate sensibilities, and the experience ruined him.
Well over a century after his death, Wilde’s work lives on and the hundreds of lipstick kisses on his Paris gravestone are a beautiful testament to how adored he still is. His greatest fan Stephen Fry memorably personified him in a movie biography – a role he was born to play.
Common abbreviations starting with O
OC – Own Car
OH – Own Home
OMWV – Older Man With Viagra
And not forgetting…
One of Australia’s best-known and most-adored international singing artists, Olivia Newton-John has been a friend to us gays for decades.
Since hitting the music scene as far back as 1971, she was already a Top Ten hit in the UK with her early album, before entering the very glam Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with her song Long Live Love – placing an impressive fourth in the competition that year.
But of course, her role in Grease opposite John Travolta was her breakthrough, cementing her popularity in the States as well as around Europe. And it also launched her acting career, which has since seen her take several diverse roles even including a lesbian ex-con country singer in Sordid Lives.
Olivia is known for her tireless activism as much as her work in the music industry. Early on she established herself as a passionate and vocal spokesperson for children’s health, cancer awareness, environmental and animal rights.
That extends to equal rights in terms of marriage too. Speaking to Same Same last year, she told us it was a shame same-sex couples weren’t allowed to marry.
“As far as I’m concerned, love is love,” she added sagely. “That’s what I think. Love is love and it should be shared and celebrated.”
This page was co-written by Chad St. James, Matt Akersten and the team at ACON.