Wednesday 22-02-2017 - 13:17
This is a statement from the NUS LGBT+ Committee 2016/17.
CN: Public Outing, Homophobia, Suicide, Stigmatisation of Sex work
This month is LGBT+ history month, a moment where we reflect upon our past, strive to make the present better and look to the future, as a student movement and the LGBT+ movement as a whole. Yet, over the course of this week a national newspaper outed a member of our community, not only with regards to his sexuality, but also his alleged work as an adult entertainer. This is troubling not least as his alleged work history has no relation to his competency as a medical professional, though it is evident that the intention was to further profit on the stigmatisation of sex work within society.
This is an all too frequent occurrence in the media. There is a clear and consistent pattern of outing people, from regular citizens to famous celebrities, typically trying to shame them for things they may or may not have done in the past and things they have no need to be ashamed of. From a Trans teacher’s outing, the loss of her job and her life, to the Olympians in Rio whereby a journalist posed as a LGBT+ person on a social networking app in order to ‘leak’ the sexualities of those Olympians, are examples of cheap journalism with a blatant disregard of the potential for serious harm to those individuals. This begs the question, what is the obsession with people’s sexual orientation or gender?
The harm inflicted on individuals every time they are outed solely because of who they are, or because of stigmatisation and shame for things done in their pasts is severe, immense and life altering. This type of inappropriate and sensationalist journalism has the potential to create situations where people become estranged from Parents and Family, lose their jobs, take their own life and fall victim to hate crimes.
We call on all media outlets to respect individuals rights to privacy, have more regard for the potential harm certain articles can cause and to stop profiting and fixating on the outing of LGBT+ people, and in the case of The Sun, issue a public apology to the nurse in question.
Your LGBT+ Committee