Outing: Is it ever right?

Lucy Gorman

Aside from her day job in TV advertising, Lucy is passionate about LGBT equality within the Church. A founding member of the LGBT Christian Fellowship she prides herself on breaking down 'Christian' stereotypes at the same time as tackling homophobia in the Church.
All other time is spent cuddling a rather small, cute Cocker Spaniel.

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In the days when you’re living your life so far in the closet you’re getting draughts from Narnia, one of your ultimate fears is to be outed.

Depending on how much of a twitter addict you are, you may have seen that Peter Tatchell has recently been tweeting his thoughts on outing gay Church of England bishops. This happened quite a few days ago, and so far I’ve kept relatively quiet – however, I feel I can’t anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, Tatchell is a great guy, and he’s done an awful lot for the LGBT community, but I don’t believe it was right when gay Bishops where outed back in 1994, and don’t believe it is right now. He tweeted this:

Outing - Pic 1

Let me try and give you a little background in case you’re not au fait with the workings of the Church of England (sometimes I wish I wasn’t either!).

Just before same sex marriage was legalised in March 2014, the Church of England issued guidelines* in the early hours of 15 February (so early you’d barely had time to get your Valentine’s day blow job out the way!), stating the Church will not be performing same sex marriages, and neither will they be allowing same sex blessings. This is an overall blanket ‘rule’ for all C of E Churches and cannot be left to each individual parish to decide. The guidelines also stated that it would be ‘inappropriate’ for clergy (vicars, priests etc.) to enter into a same sex marriage because it does not ‘model the Church’s teaching’.

That was back in February, with couples marrying all over the UK we now also have a few clergy members who have chosen to follow suit, so the Church of England and Bishops are now in a position of whether to ‘reprimand’ those who have gone against the guidelines.

Getting back to the issue in hand. Is intentional outing ever right? I can imagine there are varied opinions on this, however my answer is, point blank, no. Never.

Again, I understand if you disregard my comments, as I am not in a position where someone closeted is trying to punish me, but I can’t possibly imagine it bringing any good.

Aside from my swearing, drinking and sometimes crude sense of humour, I do try my best to live my life as I believe Jesus wants me to, but I seem to have missed the story in the Bible where someone confides in Jesus and he then preaches it from the rooftops.

Maybe Tatchell isn’t a religious man – and who am I to judge his relationship with God? – but my point is, as far as I’m concerned, that this isn’t up to us. Whether you’re religious or not, it is not our decision or duty to tell others whether someone is gay.

I strongly disagree with the way the C of E are handling the issue of clergy getting married, but as the old saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right.

As Christians we are taught to turn the other cheek, to let God head up the battles, I’m not saying we should be a push over, but fighting back with hard, cold, hurtful ammunition is not the way forward.

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