Outing is the act of revealing another person's sexuality (homosexuality and pedophilia are two recent examples), often done against the person's will. When the person does so voluntarily, it is known as coming out. Outing might for instance be revealing a pedophile's real-life information to other childlovers online, or revealing the fact that he or she is a pedophile to his real-life friends, family, or community.
The term originates with the expression "coming out of the closet" (shortened to coming out) as used in the gay community from the late 1960s. In the 1990s the gay media routinely forced celebrities "out of the closet", calling the practice "outing".
Deliberate outing is often a weapon used by anti-pedophile vigilantes or law enforcement officers to punish the pedophile (often simply for being attracted to children). Involuntary outing may occur when another person thoughtlessly links a pedophile's online nickname with another nickname, known as nick linking, or with a real-life person, or unwittingly supplies information that can be used to locate a pedophile or identify him as such.
Most members of the minor attracted community regard their anonymity as important, and try their best to protect it against either deliberate or involuntary outing. Outing is often very hard to reverse, and can have some of the following adverse effects on the subject's life:
- The knowledge may be used against the person to falsely accuse him of sexual crime.
- People formerly considered friends may react with fear or anger.
- A person who is known to express unconventional sexuality is likely to be unemployable and therefore unable to financially support himself.