What is it?
Outing is disclosing a personal detail about someone without permission. This is a detail about something that may be sensitive, such as sexual orientation. The fact that someone is a sex worker is also frequently outed.
Outing in itself is not prohibited or punishable, but it becomes so when outing is used to pressure or harm someone.
What can it mean for a sex worker?
Sex workers choose how open they want to be about their work. Some are totally open about it and are no longer vulnerable to outing; others lead strictly double lives. In general, most sex workers choose to tell some and some not.
Outing can be done by many different parties, an ex-partner, a client, and certainly the Government and the police are also guilty of it. Or the media, as they sometimes post pictures of someone without permission and without having blurred a face.
Outing is very unpleasant on an emotional level. The aftermath of outing can be long because others also take advantage of outing.
What can you do?
- Do you know who you've been routed by?
- In what way(s) are you geout?
- Is there blackmail involved? Never give in to blackmail, the other person will not keep their word anyway.
Doing at (online) outing
- Collect evidence, make screenshots.
- Block the person who geouted you directly on all your social media.
- Report the person who outed you to the social media platform in question. You can also ask your colleagues on the same social media to help you report. How to do that can be found via Google if you type in "How to report someone on (+ the name of the social media platform).
- Report the person who outed you to UglyMugs To alert your colleagues.
- Although outing itself is not a criminal offense, threatening or blackmailing after outing is is. You may therefore want to report it to the police. If you report it, ask if your name can be anonymized in the report.
- Tip when reporting to the police: find a aid agency for sex workers in your neighborhood and ask them to help you report or file a report. They know the way to the police and that reduces the risk of being turned away again. Also at UglyMugs, they can think along with you about possibly reporting or reporting to the police.
- Protect your digital data properly (see tips Always do and Extra attention).
- Notify trusted people, especially if you think you are at risk after outing. And talk about it with fellow sex workers.