- Outing, revealing the homosexuality of closeted gay public figures, is a concept that rose from within the American gay movement in the late 1980s in New York and was soon exported to Britain. Thus argues Michelangelo Signorile in his preface to the British edition to his 1993 outing manifesto, Queer in America. Both Signorile and Gabriel Rotello, editor of the now defunct gay lifestyle magazine Outweek, are fierce exponents of the strategy, and in the early 1990s the magazine was at the forefront of its defence. Initially, outing was a strategy directed at US politicians who were known or reputed to be gay but who lent support to homophobic political agendas. It was, however, quickly extended to any public figure reputed to be lesbian, gay or bisexual, and keeping quiet about it. For most people, outing came to the fore in 1991 when the anonymous US activist group Outpost flyposted images of stars around New York under the heading ABSOLUTELY QUEER. Most notable amongst these was the Hollywood film actress Jodie Foster, who was later ‘outed’ by lesbian and gay activists from US groups ACTUP, Queer Nation and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) at the 1992 Academy Awards, ostensibly for lending her support to The Silence of the Lambs, a film which these groups condemned as homophobic for its portrayal of serial killer Jame Gumb.The pros and cons of outing reached British through a series of debates in the newspapers, on television and in pubs across the nation. No major British star was outed. The hypocrisy of the British press was however exposed by gay Australian duo Faggots Rooting Out Closets (FROCS). Vociferously against outing as the expression of lesbian and gay activism, but only too happy to cast innuendo over stars in order to sell their papers, the British tabloids visibly salivated at FROCS promise to out a selection of British MPs and media figures. Having collected the media together, FROCS revealed their cunning expose—a series of posters with faces filled with the media print of the past few weeks.See also: armed forces and discrimination; gay liberationCLARE WHATLING
Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . Peter Childs and Mike Storry). 2014.