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If I reveal to my friend that I am gay, I'd say

I came out to my friend.

How would I say that my friend told his friend (without asking me for permission) that I am gay?

My friend [insert verb here] me to his friend.

Of course, I could say

My friend told his friend that I am gay

But I am wondering if there is a phrase analogous to "come out".

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Would you want exposited? –  Simon Kuang Jul 15 '13 at 18:10
    
@SimonKuang Did you mean exposed? –  tchrist Jul 15 '13 at 23:32
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I suppose that “tried to get you a date” counts as too long for one verb. :) –  tchrist Jul 15 '13 at 23:32

2 Answers 2

up vote 76 down vote accepted

The most widely accepted term is outing—the word out, used as a transitive verb:

My friend outed me to his friend.

It can also be used reflexively. This usually implies unintentionally disclosing one's own homosexuality:

I think I just accidentally outed myself to my family.

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The OED lists this meaning, as colloq. (orig US), with citations from 1990. –  Colin Fine Jul 15 '13 at 17:41
    
@ColinFine, that's interesting, because it seems to be a special case of 2a "To reveal, disclose, or exhibit; to divulge; to speak out or utter." –  Samuel Edwin Ward Jul 15 '13 at 21:01
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outed isn't specific to revealing sexual preference. It's often used that way and has that connotation in many contexts, but it can refer to the revelation of any secret identity. For example: J.K. Rowling was recently outed as the author of _Cuckoo's Calling_. (I'm not disagreeing with p.s.w.g here, just trying to clarify.) –  William Shakespeare Jul 16 '13 at 0:46
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Does anyone have any references as to whether 'outing' originally referred to sexuality and then gained expanded usage? Or was it originally a general term and became closely tied to sexuality over time? –  Dancrumb Jul 16 '13 at 1:30
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@Dancrumb Again from Wikipedia: The present-day expression "coming out"… [originally likened] homosexuals’ introduction into gay subculture to a débutante’s coming-out party … George Chauncey points out: "Gay people in the pre-war years [pre-WWI]… did not speak of coming out of what we call the gay closet but rather of coming out into what they called homosexual society or the gay world, a world neither so small, nor so isolated, nor… so hidden as closet implies" –  p.s.w.g Jul 16 '13 at 8:56

Outing is appropriate in this and similar contexts: [Person or Media Outlet] outed [person, usually well-known]. This usage connotes negative or mixed motives unless "outed" is preceded by accidentally, inadvertently, etc., or the context is fully within a trusted LGBTQ-friendly environment where such a revelation is unlikely to have negative repercussions. Until relatively recently, and to this day in many settings, it was a grave personal breach to tell Person B that Person A was any variety of LGBTQ without Person A's express, particular consent. In the late 1980s my mother asked me whether I would consent to her revealing to a relative who had just come out to her that I'm a lesbian. She was right to ask, although in that instance I had no hesitation in telling her to go ahead. That did not feel like being outed; the request for permission and my willing consent made the difference. In settings and with persons for whom the revelation is no big deal, far more common now than 25 years ago, the appropriate expression is simply," Person C told Person B that Person A is gay/lesbian/bi/trans/queer/LGBTQ." But I would still ask if I were at all unsure about possible repercussions.

The reflexive use is much less common, at least when meant sincerely: generally used with accidentally, etc, and rarely without modification.

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protected by tchrist Jul 6 at 23:51

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