Dear Nico Hines

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Today a “journalist” named Nico Hines from the Daily Beast outed a group of LGBT olympic athletes in Rio. He used apps to find and chat with gay individuals so he could write a story about them. My heart literally shattered into pieces upon reading the article. Since then the Daily Beast has removed the article and posted an apology.

I remember the day I was outed. I was outed by a straight and unknowingly privileged friend. That night I called my mother, I remember the feeling of terror, I could hardly breathe because I was hysterical. The words I was saying were inconsolable and incomprehensible. I fell into a month long depression where some days I could hardly move from the shame I felt. Worried the friendships I had built would be stripped from me, the thought of my family disowning me, and the feeling of being scared I would lose my job were all so daunting. It was one of the most horrific times in my life.

Nico Hines, I was outed as a queer in the state of Texas. It was terrible. I thought my life was ruined. What people like you have done is destroyed the safe space closeted LGBT individuals have come to find solace. A space where they should be able to go and explore without the world’s judgements. What people like you have done is painful to the entire LGBT community. It takes us so many steps backwards.

While tears stream down my face over this clickbait, destructive, and divisive rhetoric, I can only wish my LGBT comrades the best. For what it’s worth I’m here for you. I’ve been tortured as you have and I know the feeling of being ruthlessly yanked out of the closet when you weren’t ready. And while I can never imagine the exact circumstances you’re currently going through I’ve been in shoes extremely familiar.

If you have friends or family that are LGBT and not out yet I beg you consider the ramifications of what it could mean if you outed them. All of our journeys are so different and I pray you find the understanding needed to let them discover their own path.

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