Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Out of this world

Being gay means lots of things. It means you fall in love a little differently than most of the world. It means you are hated irrationally by some of the world. It means still don’t have all the same rights as the rest of the world. And it means you’re going to have to tell the world you’re gay and therefore all of those different, hated, unequal things in the first place. It’s a lot to ask of a person to admit to. Yet so many of us do because to not would mean to not be who we really are.

Still, coming out is always your choice. Because it’s your life. And no one can tell how to live your life. And no one can tell you who you are. Only you can do that for yourself. At your own time. When you are ready.

Last night’s “Glee” was many things. It was way too focused on the vomit-inducing student-teacher cliché that is Puck and Shelby. It was way too invested in this ridiculous Crazy Quinn storyline and its equally ridiculous commentary on adoption. It was too confused about election law and what constitutes legal, non-slanderous political advertising. And it was probably way too close to home for many young or questioning people who aren’t out of the closet.

Let’s get this out of the way immediately: No one has the right to out you. When you come out is up to you, period.

So then just because Santana can be a raging bitch sometimes, doesn’t mean she deserves to be outed. Just because she’s mean to Finn, doesn’t mean she deserves to be outed. Just because she hasn’t made the decision to be out for herself yet, doesn’t mean she deserves to be outed. Santana did not deserve to be outed.

The last four minutes of “Glee” last night were particularly powerful. And, no, not just because that Adele mash-up is still SOFA KING AMAZING even after 3,876 repeat viewings. But because it showed, through Naya Rivera’s extraordinarily nuanced performance, what it means to be outed. You can see Santana’s whole world crumble in an instant. “I can’t believe this is happening.” “I haven’t even told my parents yet.” It’s all there, on the surface. The panic. The fear. The despair.

And here’s the other thing about being gay. Straight people, even the super allies and the most supportive, they can’t know what it is to come out. They’ll never have to do it. They don’t know what it means. What a big step it is. What a difficult confession it can be to even just to ourselves. That’s not really their fault, but it’s also not their place to judge. So when Finn tells Santana in a crowded school hallway that she should come out of the closet, that’s not just getting revenge – that’s imploding a life. And when he calls her a “coward” for not being out, well, that is almost as bad as outing her. Also the stuff about Brittany maybe not loving her back, that was just fucking mean.

Being in the closet can be a terrible burden. Carrying a secret can crush you slowly. But being ripped out of the closet before you’re ready is even worse. There could be very real consequences from being outed. Being kicked out to losing your job to being bullied to being beaten to even worse. So, then being ready to face that, being prepared – well, that’s everything.

But then, here’s the thing about being out. It’s better when you’re out. Maybe not right away. Maybe not for a long time. But it’s better to be open. It’s better to accept and embrace and love who you are for all the world to see. And once the world sees you, it’ll see you’re not so scary – we’re not so scary. Coming out matters because knowing a gay person makes it hard to hate us unconditionally. It’s easier to hate blindly what you think you don’t know or think you haven’t met. Because, make no mistake, we are everywhere.

That’s why there is one important exception to the outing rule. Those who hide their truth while actively using their power and position against us, they shall be afforded no quarter. Those conservative politicians who vote against our right to equality under the law, but shtup strangers in airplane restrooms. Those powerful players who call us an abomination, yet hire rentboys to tend to them on the weekends. That’s not coming to terms with oneself, that’s just pure hypocrisy. And that will not stand.

So, yes, it is better when you’re out. But that doesn’t mean it’s better before you’re ready, before you’re safe, before you decide. For some of us it’s a lifelong journey. And that’s OK, too. The goal is always to be honest and happy with yourself. So we get up each day, look ourselves in the mirror, and hope we like the person staring back at us – however long it takes. And when you do, we’ll be here. Because while you may feel alone, you’re not alone. That’s the other thing about being gay, you get a whole new family. And we love you, unconditionally.

99 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

That post exactly sums up my feelings about last night episode...I can't stand the teacher/student storyline...but the Santana story last night was a suckerpunch to the gut.

Naya for all the awards!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, as always, for summing up my feelings so well.

Kim M said...

AMEN and thank-you...is there anyway you could post this on AFTER-Ellen because, Im in shock. There some are ladies saying what many in the so-called mainstream sites are saying,that Santana got what she desereved. I belive the world is going CRAZY.I think your words of wisdom might help, this was so eloquant,and thoughtful....thank-you

Kim M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thank you.

And for anyone who needs to hear it again. Everything Snarker said is true. Especially the best part - you do get a whole new family who loves you. And we are everywhere. I’m your accounting professor. I will bend over backwards to always make time to talk to you about being gay, coming out, being out or anything else that you'd just like to gab about. Being there for you, my other family, is half the reason I took this job.

Thanks for a wonderful post Dorothy. You deserve an award for that one.

dantzig75 said...

Sorry Kim, but you're wrong. On AE, people don't say she deserved to be outed. They say both Finn and Santana were stupid, and douchebags, him for outing her, her for bullying him. Being gay is not an excuse to be abusive.

Laine said...

Excellent post, Ms. Snarker. I rarely watch GLEE but did last night along side a 12 y/o girl who's Mom (my ex-GF) came out to her only two months ago.
This child viewed that event (Santana's being "outed") with such compassion.
I agree that this post should be spread around for a larger audience to read. You nailed it.

erinjaws said...

thank you.

Anonymous said...

While I certainly don't think that Finn should have outed Santana - and the fact is that I love mean, snarky Santana - how is it that Finn crossed a line but Santana didn't? How many insults of hers have crossed the line? Anti-semetic remarks towards Rachel (where were the cries of "Nazi!" and "Anti-semite!"), anti-gay remarks toward Kurt (where were the cries of "Hate-monger!"), mercelessly mocking Mercedes weight problems...
I love that Santan's bitchy, and Finn did cross a big line, but he's done no worse than Santana has done in the past.

Anonymous said...

I never "watch" glee but I have it on while I'm on the computer in case something interesting happens. I loved Sue's baboon and donkey stuff it was hyterical and I loved the Adele thing. Mostly the show is aomewhat ridiculous and I would like to see teenagers actually playing teenagers as opposed to these approaching thirty year old people. The public outing seemed right in step with Glee however and did not surprise me.

Lisa said...

I knew you would be the place to go to process this. Whoever the hell you are, THANK YOU. And my God - everything aside - NAYA?!?!

CAB said...

Santana was being a bully, but outing her... even if "Everybody already knows" is still wrong. I had a co-worker out me at a time when I was unsure how my employer would react so the last portion of this episode was heart wrenching for me

Anonymous said...

Bullies are often the most sensitive/emotive souls. Imagine reliving middle school over and over again.

For real-life coming out story, read
about Steve on Salon.com.
"The coming out story I never thought I’d write"

Anonymous said...

On a lighter note, how fun was it when Brittany was trying to convince Santana to sing the Adele mash-up? That was also a brief, but beautiful, nuanced performance by Naya. And wicked cute!

ysubassoon said...

@Anonymous: Why is it different? Nothing Santana has ever said to Finn or to Rachel or Kurt or anyone else ever destroyed their lives the way that Finn outing Santana did, not just to the school, but as she said, to *everyone* paying attention to the statewide election. Given that Santana grew up in a home so full of insults and people tearing each other down that she didn't even know her name until kindergarten suggests that coming out to her parents was going to be extremely painful in both its execution and its consequences. This is probably one reason why she was in denial for so long about herself, and why she put off coming out. It was already going to be difficult; think now how much harder it will be now that they know, and they didn't hear it from her. They will be as blindsided by her outing as she was.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful post that summed up the powerful emotions and pain from the end of last night's episode. Thank you.

I watch Glee with my brother, because we both enjoy the same things. But after Finn outed her in the hallway, I went quiet and went 'holy shit, poor Santana...' and he told me, laughing, that she had it coming. And something crumbled inside of me.

Yes, Santana was being a giant asshole to Finn and is impossibly mean on the best of days. I think it's hilarious, actually, but she stepped up the venom to an uncomfortable extent.

But nobody deserves to be outed like that. It's something Kurt understood when he didn't do it to Karofsky, but something Finn would never understand and showed when he did it callously to Santana. And it's something my brother will never understand either. I'm not out to my family, so that made it doubly hurtful. Santana's terror and pain echoed rather strongly through my heart.

Naya definitely deserves recognition for her work. Definitely need to just pile the awards on that beautiful woman.

Jeannie said...

WOW - powerful post. Thank you!

J9 said...

Haven't seen the ep yet, but teared up at your post, because what you say is true.

Carmen SanDiego said...

Standing Ovation

Katie said...

This post helped me a lot. I'm still in the process of coming out and a coworker almost outed me the other day while making a joke. I felt like my world almost crumbled right there so I can't imagine being outed as payback. Nobody deserves that, ever. Hopefully the writers will show the far reaching consequences of Santana being outed so everyone who felt like she 'got what she deserved'will understand what really happened.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! That was just beautiful!

raven618 said...

Thank you, Dorothy. Thank you very much for this post...

Anonymous said...

Kim, if you are implying that Santana's outing is worse than how she bullied Finn, I would have to disagree with that. Finn and Santana's behavior are both unacceptable. Outing someone and bullying someone have led to people committing suicide, so both are very traumatic events. I can't see how you argue that one is worse than the other.

In any case, I look forward to see how this story develops. I hope the writers do a good job with the continuation of this story line, and not sugar coat things.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying everything I felt about the episode (but far more brilliantly and eloquently than I ever could)! It annoys me when people on Afterellen defend Finn's actions, because you feel that at least they would understand that while Santana was wrong to insult Finn, he had no right to do what he did.

Simone said...

I'm still really surprised that anyone expects Glee to be more that utter crap. Week after week, cliche after cliche, yet people still think it's deserving of delivering any social messages - positive or negative.

That said, Finn is a stupid high school boy. You don't think a stupid high school boy might pull what he did, with the kind of abuse he's taken? I thought it was fairly realistic, for once. I'm more interested in seeing the aftermath - that might actually teach someone that outing someone is horribly, irrevocably, wrong.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! So, so important.

Florence said...

Great post. Naya and the music are the only reasons I'm still watching this mess called Glee.
And I've never, ever, liked Finn, since the first episode of the first season. So I'm not saying that just because of the outing.
But I hate him now.
I was so cheering when Santana insulted him.

nomimalone said...

as a mental health professional I definitely feel that the bullying like the kind Santana directed towards Finn could be dangerous. Teens do commit suicide over self-esteem issues and, though rare, teen males can have eating disorders.

However, I am disgusted by the amount of people on the internet, especially those in the gay community, stating that what was done to Santana was fair/deserved/served to humble her/remove her off her pedestal.

It is not the place of a Caucasian, cis-gendered, heterosexual, able-bodied male to take away the agency of a minority. I really hope they address his nonchalance in telling Santana that the whole school knows and they don't care.

Kurt was getting physically bullied, his life threatened, and he NEVER outed Karofsky.


These kids need education/counseling/support/adult intervention, please!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the intention, Dorothy, and I appreciate that it resonated with so many of your readers. But you've also overstated and oversimplified your case.

No, the gay community does not love newbies unconditionally. That is simply not true, as much as we would like it to be.

You say "those who hide their truth while actively using their power and position against us, they shall be afforded no quarter." This is a weasel if I've ever heard one. "Actively?" That conveniently lets off untold numbers of sympathetic closeted celebrities and politicians, doesn't it? And yet one could argue it's these people who could be really making a difference, yet choose to protect themselves instead. It's not about giving no quarter - we may genuinely understand why they remain closeted. But collectively they do as much harm as the Larry Craigs of the world, they just do it differently.

That said, outing Santana was wrong - but it doesn't have anything to do with sexuality. It was wrong because it was an aggressive act done it retribution, meant to harm. Finn just went for Santana's most vulnerable spot. Ouch. Bad, bad Finn. Two wrongs don't make a right, and all that kindergarten ethics stuff.

BUT, totally with you on the adoption story. Heinous.

And, as an aside, does it ever feel awkward to you to be making these impassioned calls for living your truth as an pseudonymous blogger?

MR said...

Great post Snarker. Love your writing.

Something else to consider about Santana being mean and "abusive" and deserved to be outed...Finn had a conversation with Rory about "trash talking" which is what Santana and Finn were basically doing to each other. "Trash talking" is typically to be taken light-heartedly and thick-skinned. And yes, Santana's trash talking was brutal, being outed is a vindictive, personal attack aimed at imploding one's life. Just my opinion. Keep on.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Best thing I've read about this episode. Thank you for always finding the right words!

orthofeminist said...

It's not just a gay thing. The thing is, people in high school (and beyond!) talk. They talk about who's dating whom, and who's having sex whit whom, and who's cheating on whom with whom.

When you come out SHOULD be your decision, sure. But I just don't think that in our gossip driven society, it's realistic at all to assume it will be.

Santana (and other gay people!) are entitled to come out when and how they want to. But just like a straight person's relationships aren't going to stay private for very long, neither are a gay person's. It would be lovely if people would stay out of other people's business and not talk about anyone's private life behind their back. But they do, and that's the society we live in.

flamesandflowers said...

I can't even begin to describe how much I related with THE ENTIRE SANTANA STORYLINE LAST NIGHT! I'm in love with a girl, and she loves me back, but because of certain circumstances, NEITHER of us can express that love.

Further, I'm on the verge of coming out to my mother. I'm just trying to find the right words and such, and be mentally prepared for whatever reaction she will give me. (I know it will be negative as she forever says things like "that's gross" whenever Brit and Santana or Kurt and Blaine are shown.) I can't imagine having to deal with that before I'm ready or having someone out me. How heartbreaking.

Also, yea, I hate the current Puck/Quin/Shelby storyline, too. :P

Steph M. said...

Gotta jump in to comment on anonymous's comment above about the subject of pseudonymity and "living your truth"

Dorothy isn't the one making the case that "all people must be out" - you, Anonymous (ironic? Why not sign your name?) are the one doing that.

There are some valid reasons for staying "in the closet" as a gay person - employment, physical safety, not losing your home or your children are among them.

There are also some VERY valid reasons for keeping your name of record off the internet - employment, physical safety, not losing your home or your children are among them.

And keeping your name private and "living the truth" are NOT in conflict with each other, at least from what I can tell about how Dorothy is handling her online identity, based on reading her blog and other writing a long, long time.

From what I can tell based on her interaction with people who know her offline as well as on, Dorothy is not masking anything about herself except specifically her name.

She may be using one name online and a different name "in real life" but she's not pretending to be a *different person* online than in real life. That's an important distinction.

There are names our parents give us and names we give ourselves. One is not necessarily more valid than the other, and using one online and the other with people you know isn't dishonest if your behavior and values and treatment of others are the same in both places.

URBAN Sapphic said...

"just because Santana can be a raging bitch sometimes, doesn’t mean she deserves to be outed. Just because she’s mean to Finn, doesn’t mean she deserves to be outed. Just because she hasn’t made the decision to be out for herself yet, doesn’t mean she deserves to be outed. Santana did not deserve to be outed."

On the Contrary Santana most certainly deserved to be outed.

If one is insensitive to others then people are not obligated to protect their feelings.

I mean this is very basic and Biblical in context: Treat Others the Way You Want To Be Treated. D-U-H Hello and I am not even religious.

in the REAL world [Unless one is a Teapublican living under the delusion that free speech means one can be hateful). If a person isn't respectful of others then they leave themselves open to disrespect in return.

STOP trying to redefine REALITY, it's bad enough reading your delusional subtexts but now you are attempting to disem[power some (the insulted) while empowering individuals who are perceived as hurtful.

Adults don't see the Character Santana as deserving of special consideration. Being mean and cruel should not be tolerated merely becauise the bully is gay or lesbian, if that were the case then how will it ever "Get Better"?

Time to grow up Dorothy, you're NOT i n Kansas anymore and some of your readers are tired of the conjecture and misdirection.

beebee said...

I have a slightly different opinion.

Santana bullies and belittles everyone. And she's funny at it. Mean bullying has been a standard GLEE humor style since the beginning. Finn didn't bully her, he simply called her on her crap because she must look foolish to everyone for being closeted after singing love songs to Brittany.

So given these characters are fictitious and exaggerated, the Finn reply was nothing.

Everything you said Snarker about coming out on one's own time is true. BUt I think Santana's character is supposed to seem fueled by her lack of self-acceptence (at least at this moment in GLEE-time, which could change next week!) and FInn just said the obvious.

So ya, the completely unrealistic plot of a political commercial outing her is cruel. But gay people don't get extra room for their baggage with their peers, gay or straight.

Amy A said...

This post touched my heart immediately!

Growing up as a pastor's daughter in a small community, being dragged out of the closet and upsetting my parent's perfect little life was an every day fear/threat for me. I now live in a different city across the country from them, and I'm still working on being totally comfortable loving ladies.

To all those people out there who know, or are questioning inside that they are lesbian/gay/bi/trans, it does get better!

I bow to you Dorothy! Thank you for saying so eloquently what we all feel!

Amy A
Toronto, Canada

Ceridwyn2 said...

Thank you for that. I came out in my early 20s, but completely on my own terms, as it should be. This pst is brillant for what it is.

Beebee - yes, Santana's trash talking bullying of Finn stays within school grounds, as does Finn's usual taunting of Santana. And while most of the students of McKinley might already know and not care, Finn's outing Santana has much further reaching consequences beyond school grounds. Someone used that information to attack Sue's political campaign; by using Santana's outing in a very state-wide public ad campaign, which EVERYONE could see. Santana was not out to her family. NO ONE should ever take that from her.

Anonymous said...

This episode really brought to light how many people there are who think outing is justified. They're right here in this thread, and they're scary people.

Anonymous said...

After watching glee last night I'm now terrified of being outed at school. I can relate so much to what Santana is going through and I feel sick in my stomach with fear that the same thing could happen to me.
I'm now scared that I will be outed too after seeing what Finn did to Santana and the fact that many people think she deserved it. Does that mean I deserve to be outed to?

Lisa said...

Agree with all you said, DS. I was outed by my ex husband to my OWN parents without my knowledge. I believe as you do that outing oneself is up to that person and no one else. The student/teacher relationship is vomit-inducing and last week's Artie asking Bieste about her love life is inappropriate.

Ruth said...

For me the best time to come out is when you realize there is nothing wrong with being gay. I dont think Santana was there yet.

Anonymous said...

No one deserves to be outed - but frankly no one deserves to be bullied either. Bullying is directly linked to high school suicides (even going back to Columbine). Santana may not have "deserved" to be outed, but she sure as hell didn't DESERVE Finn's respect or silence on the matter. Is it somehow less ok to call someone out on their sexuality than their weight, their religion, their ethnicity?

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and perfect, as usual. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am 100% behind everything you said.

Thank you for saying it. It needed saying and I needed to be reminded.

You truly make the World a nicer place for a lot of people you don't even know. That is a beautiful gift to have and share, so thank you, Dorothy (whatever your real name is.)

Anonymous said...

This from a previous post:

"I'm more interested in seeing the aftermath - that might actually teach someone that outing someone is horribly, irrevocably, wrong."

This was exactly the thought I had after much processing. I'm guessing they ramped up Santana's anger to provoke Finn to out her but they gave no reason for her aggression. I was really disturbed when she nailed the Irish kid with the dodgeball. That crossed a line I don't think Santana has ever crossed before.

Best case scenario, this leads to episodes about if it's ever okay to out someone and how Santana deals with being outed. I hope it will have Finn face the consequences of doing it but that may be a little too much to ask of Glee.

Cindy said...

Thank you for this. I like so many other people around the world struggle with accepting their sexuality. For me, I know my friends will still love me, but I also know I could never come out to my family- not yet anyways.

And like Santana it's the yet that is important. For me I know that day will eventually come when I need to tell my family the truth of who I am. But until then, I know that I won't be outed by my friends. I never want to experience what Santana now faces.

Christina said...

This episode took me back in high school when people would walk past me and say "lesbian" loud enough for me to hear, or whisper to each other everytime I was nearby. And I wasn't even mean to anyone. And I was in the closet (still am).

Even though I don't justify Santana's noumerous insults to Finn, people's opinion of Finn will not change no matter how many times Santana insults him. But many people's opinion of Santana will change now that he outed her (not to mention that it must be really hard for a parent to learn that their daughter is a lesbian from a third person). So no, Santana insulting Finn is not the same as Finn outing Santana.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, I just can't seem to hate Finn for what he did. Maybe I'm sheltered, cause I managed to come out on my own terms, and wayy after High School at that. But it's not like he planned for that wanna-be politician to spread the news all over Ohio. I could just perfectly understand where he's coming from. He was reacting to a situation where Santana had escalated the insults beyond trash talk, to a level where Finn probably felt no matter what he did, that Santana still had the upper hand. So he went for for the only way he still knew he could really get her, her biggest insecurity.

And while I definitely thought "ouch" when originally watching that scene, I will admit that it kind of felt like Santana had pushed Finn there. Mind you, I didn't know about the consequences then. And while Finn definitely risked outing her to whoever was around, I don't think that was his intention.

So I guess what I'm saying is: While coming out should be the persons own decision, it's pretty easy to get yourself into a situation where people take that right from you.

But that's really what Santana's storyline seems to be about nowadays. Not how life is better when your out, but how it's worse when you're not. How another's carelessness has the power to ruin you. How you might come to hate yourself and everyone around you. Cause, you know, I think Finn just might have a point there. Santana has been more than her usual mean, she's been insufferable. And didn't even Rachel comment on that stemming from her own insecurities earlier in the episode? It's not nice, but sadly I think it's kind of true. The phase between being in denial and being out can get very, very messy.

I think even without Finn's "help", Santana would have reached the breaking point pretty soon. In the end she's gonna win by having the whole ordeal be over. And maybe, just maybe, the writers will have him learn a lesson, too, about the consequences of his carelessness.

AR said...

Everyone who is saying that Santana deserves to be called on her bullying of Finn is totally right. That being said, there's a time and place; and being shouted in the middle of a crowded high school hallway was neither.

Santana is a bitch to everyone and was being exceptionally brutal to Finn but everything she ever had to say was either at Glee Club meetings/rehearsals or part of a private conversation. Yes, they were in the hallway sometimes but they were clearly engaged in their own conversation and she wasn't shouting. Finn, on the other hand, choose to air his grievances loudly and publicly.

I've been thinking about this a lot so I could say a lot more but I guess my point is just that context matters.

Thanks for the lovely post.

stoker315 said...

Dorothy, you are a goddess! And as usual, you are dead on right!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for saying it. Coming out is a choice especially when you live in a culture that can really ding you for it. I have had friends who get angry for me for not being "100% out" and its always an argument that no one ends up having a good time having.

MizGarfield said...

Dorothy, thank you so much for your post. Words like these remind us again why we adore you.

I totally agree with Stoker315: you are a goddess!

Anonymous said...

I really dislike Finn's character, but I feel like it wasn't entirely his fault. Sure he outed Santana, but I feel like he did it as a final stand against continuous and endless bullying on Santana's part. It was wrong, but not entirely intentional. How was Finn to know that it would be used as part of a political campaign. The ultimate blame lays in the hands of the girl who passed on the speech.
Both Finn and Santana are also to blame for their actions, but not nearly to the degree as those who would use it for public gain.
Finn is a douchebag who doesn't always think about things. He may have a gay brother, and his girlfriend has gay dads but Santana is a bully through and through and when you bully someone, eventually they are going to fight back and use whatever ammo they have, regardless of the consequences.

Only someone who has been both bullied and outed to family can truly understand both sides of this drama.

Yes it wrong for Finn to do what he did, but Santana pushed and pushed him to breaking point, and Finn fought back with the ammo he knew would affect Santana the way he had been affect by her bullying.

Anonymous said...

Finn might have just scared a whole bunch of people back into the closet, people who like Santana were struggling to come to terms with who they are.
Seriously, there could have been people who saw this episode for the inspiration to come out and this fucker comes and acts out the worst case scenario...
Die Finn Hudson. Just dig a motherfucking ditch and rot there.

Lauren said...

Thank you, Ms Snarker, for pointing this out. And yes, it's true, not even our most supportive allies can't and won't know what it is to come out.

Fin outing Santana against her will in the public of McKinley (and the reaction to this from the most of the viewer) makes me sad and one of my closed friends from abroad even texted me and told me that she's now even more afraid to come out. It just makes me sad. And why do we even need to discuss about it? You can't and shouldn't ever out someone against their will in the public! It doesn't matter how mean they are, you just _don't_ do it.

eastberlin said...

I'm not a big Glee fan and I didn't watch last night's episode, but I have experience both in being bullied and being outed. And while I know it's not the same for everyone, I would gladly go back to being the middle school's verbal punching bag before even thinking about being outed again. And here's the thing- my outing wasn't even that bad, as far as outings go. It wasn't even a traditional outing in the sense of someone else telling people- a friend's mom saw my Facebook page where my sexuality is listed (I'm was out to my friends but not my family and I don't add family on FB) and she flipped her shit because my friend and I slept in the same bed when we visited each other. So my choice was to either tell my mom myself or wait for my friend's mom to do it- I chose to tell her. And I knew she wouldn't have a problem with it, I just wasn't ready. My anxiety before, during, and after was so bad I couldn't keep food down. I'm not talking a day or two here, I'm talking weeks of anxiety that wouldn't let up- I've got an anxiety disorder and the only other time it was that bad was when I had to do a medical withdrawal from classes because of it. And like I said, this is a case where I was only outed to one person, who was supportive. Being outed to EVERYONE? Especially while in high school (I was 19 and in college when it happened to me)? I can't even imagine. No one deserves that, no matter what their past actions may have been.

Anonymous said...

The message I got from this episode was that your actions may have unintended consequences. Both bullying and outing are horrible. As a gay woman who was outed by 'well-intentioned' friends, I do hope Glee producers can give Santana a happy ending. It would be a colossal shame if the unintended consequence of this episode is an uptick of 'outing' for revenge or closeted people being even more terrified than they were before.

URBAN Sapphic said...

Wanted to add one more comment:

Yes the character Santana deserved to be outed, plain and simple. More importantly though Santa's outing was necessary to progress the narrative.

There has to be transformation and character development in Santana in order for her to be perceived as 3 Dimensional, as she was precipitously close to becoming a 1 Dimensional caricature. How can Santana develop into the likeable character she is destined to be unless something catastrophic happens that forces her to change?

Finally, not everyone has the luxury of waiting for the universe to favorably align in order to come out. Sometime it's not a safe environment, sometimes it's uncomfortable and painful. ALL of the time it's necessary.

This is why the lesbian story arc on Pretty Little Liars is so much preferable to GLEE and Ms. Snarker it would behoove you to write as if your readers weren't the emotional children we know they are, or how will it ever get better?

Alejandra said...

Thank you for your fantastic words. I'm in a difficult moment in my life, a moment of change and discovering, and your message was like clean air to me.
Thank you very much because there are people, just like me, that need to hear this.

kelltwomyn said...

I knew you'd have something good to say; I wish you'd done the entire recap on afterellen.com. However, this blog was excellent. Thank you for saying this; it needed to be said.

Anonymous said...

@erinjaws

"how is it that Finn crossed a line but Santana didn't? How many insults of hers have crossed the line?"

I think she did (and frequently) but those things were SUPPOSED to cross the line, whereas the tv show seems to give the impression that Santana got what she deserved for being a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Thank u for this amazing blog.

Sora Ryu said...

I watched the whole second season but since I'm no longer on Tumblr I haven't been keeping up with the third season. So this news angered and shocked me.

I can't believe they outed Santana. Here at Dartmouth there's recently been a case of some very homophobic vandalism. Also in the movies, "J. Edgar" which describes the plight of a powerful, closeted gay man (written my "Milk" screenwriter Dustin Lance Black) is out.

So I've been thinking about the plight of closeted gays lately and how much they must suffer, especially if they're not out to their families.

And I can say unequivocally that no one deserves to be outed, even if they're being a mean closeted b*tch to the show's lead male protagonist (anyone who gets in the way of the male lead seems to get hurt it seems).

I know the writers of Glee wanted to show at least one gay being outed because it happens in real life. But I feel they were insensitive and even a little patriarchal. Perhaps some things that happen in real life shouldn't be shown, especially if they hurt the community the show is partially trying to reach out to.

1) Santana has already suffered so much already as a non-white lesbian who no one seems to like or accept. She already suffers a on-and-off non-relationship with her (white) love interest Brittany, who is also dating a guy - if anything could hurt Santana more, that would.

I feel for anyone in real life who finds themselves in Santana's position. Anyone who has suffered as Santana has suffered in Glee (and that may be quite a few people) would have a lot of sadness to work through especially if they were in the closet.

This brings me to 2) suicide. In real life there are sometimes horrible consequences that follow outing someone. The most well-known example I can think of Tyler Clementi, who killed himself after his roommate videotaped him having sex and Tweeted it all over the internet. Is Santana going to become depressed and suicidal? How would that make gay women watching the show feel?

Hence, it was very insensitive for the writers of Glee to out Santana. I am very angry that they have chosen her to be yet another tragic lesbian, in a world of patriarchal media that says non-white lesbians can't ever find happiness.

If Kurt is the "good gay" given a fairy tale life to encourage gay people (i.e. gay men and the allies who love them) to live out-and-proud, why should Santana be the "bad gay," the "fall guy" for all of society's horrible stereotypes of lesbians and gay people(they're b*tches, they're tragic, so on)? It just doesn't seem fair.

Kate said...

Thank you Dorothy, your words were a nice comfort for me since I still haven't gotten the courage to stop clinging to the closet door. One day yes, but thanks to you now I don't feel so guilty about not doing it yet.

Sora Ryu said...

I also kind of question the last segment of your post.

Just because Santana has now been outed doesn't mean everything's going to be alright. Santana being out doesn't make the hurtful things Finn said right (and knowing Glee he'll probably not apologize for them).

You can't just sweep it all under the carpet and claim "it gets better." Sometimes it doesn't get better. In fact if Santana existed in real life (not in the Glee world where everyone eventually ends up happy) things for Santana would probably get much worse. She'd probably lose all her friends for starters.

One issue I take with the gay community is how fast we forgive and how fast we forget. The pain that Santana and other gay people who are outed or worse feel is forgotten if "it gets better."

We are all very fast to string up gay hypocrites without knowing what they go through but we're ready to forgive people like Finn who hurt people without remorse, who hurt people while thinking they're right and that by outing a "coward" gay person they're "saving" them.

In the real world Santana would not be saved. She would be destroyed. In the real world Santana might just be running away to cut herself or something worse.

So I question where the gay community lays their judgement. And I'm angered that Finn could be allowed to get away with something like that just because he's the handsome white, male and straight protagonist.

It's not like we have a bully or a Dave Kurofsky outing Santana but one of the main characters. What kind of message does that send to allies and other gay people watching the show? That gays deserve to be outed? That gays aren't worth coming out on their own terms - they have to have that right wrested from them?

What Glee has done to Santana disgusts me. And the fact that it was done on a prime-time television show only confirms to me how prevalent these negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians circulating in wider society are.

Sora Ryu said...

In sum, Santana's outing is a power play of privilege. Some gays (like Kurt - white and male and brother of Finn, the straight male protagonist) don't "deserve" to be outed. But others (like the Latina, non-white, female "b*tchy" Santana) do? I don't care if it's realistic: it's an unfair, discriminatory double standard in society that Glee should not be promoting. To me, therein lies the true hypocrisy.

Sora Ryu said...

I'll go out and say it - Santana's outing is just another indicator of how much society, including the gay community has short-changed and let down non-white minority gay people.

Maybe Glee is just a show of clichés but some clichés are harmful and dangerous. Having the likable "good gay" (Kurt) who best fits the status quo - white, male etc. not suffer the pain of being outed while letting Santana somehow "deserve" her outing plays so much into so many stereotypes that are harmful to (non-white) lesbians.

What happened to Santana has probably happened so many times in before (in the media and in real life). Somehow the non-white lesbian is always the bad guy. But that doesn't make it right. These sad media portrayals shouldn't keep happening.

Santana doesn't "deserve" (who are we to judge what people "deserve?) to be outed. She deserves and is worth better, not worse.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say this but this episode was so about the US. For me it was a kind of reflection of your society. It must be hard to grow up over there being gay. I am thankful that I live in a country were we have the rights we deserve and should have like everyone else. On a side note I go with you, Santana did not deserve this because nobody, how nasty they are, ever should have to experience something like this.

Steph said...

Although I understand this is just a show, this episode meant a lot to me. I came out willingly, and you know what? I'm not always excited about it. People are horrible sometimes. But I came out because it was better for me than hiding anymore, and I did it because I wanted to--no one forced me out.

I think it's every LGBT+ person's nightmare to be outed before they're ready. I know if it were me, if I had been outed before I was ready, I would have been shattered. I can't even imagine being in Santana's position. And I feel horrible for anyone this happens to. You have to come out when you're ready and you can deal with any and all backlash. Forcing someone into that can ruin their lives.

Finn could have picked any of her insecurities. He could have spoken to her in private if he was trying to be noble about it. And just because the "whole school knows and doesn't care", that doesn't mean she's ready to acknowledge or confirm the rumors. Heck, I once had a therapist ask me if I was gay and I almost tore her head off. I'm not even a violent person, but the fear that ran through my veins just from one person (who was bound by law to keep it a secret) was incomparable to anything I've ever felt in my life. To know your whole family was going to find out. To know everyone, not just a few people of your choosing, but legitimately the whole state, would know your deepest secret? My heart rips apart at the thought.

The bottom line is, there were better ways this could have played out. In fact, I'm not sure there were worse ways. Finn would've hurt Santana less if he had punched her in the face than forcing her out of the closet. FAR less.

Bullying is never right, but Finn not only crossed the line, he ran so far past it that it's barely even a memory.

Anonymous said...

Santana was OTT on her insults this episode but didn't Finn tell Rory that it was part of her trash talking them for the competition? Finn should have decided not to trash talk her back and come up with the dodgeball game or confronted her in private. I think he knew he was outing her and it wasn't in the heat of the moment because he was blase about outing her to the school at the end of the episode.

In the end they made her meaner as a plot device so Finn wouldn't look so bad in the eyes of the masses. I don't completely hate this storyline because hopefully Naya will get more screen time and she has something to show off her acting talent.

Anonymous said...

I'm extremely torn about this development. On the one hand, I agree that what Finn did was horrible, inexcusable, and ruinous.

And on the other, I can actually sympathize with him. Pushed to his emotional limits, faced with an uncertain future, forced to cope with the fact that he's just not good enough to follow his dreams as they are, increasingly confused and frightened and unsteady, and then along comes Santana. And she pokes and prods and insults every facet of his being: his weight, his looks, his singing, his dancing, his sexual prowess, his girlfriend. She pushes him and yeah, what he does is wrong, but I -know- what it's like to be pushed so far that all thoughts of rational, reasonable, sane retaliation fly out the window. I know what it's like to want to go straight for the nuclear option, to scorch the earth and utterly annihilate the problem, and damn the costs.

I hope Finn is forced to come to terms with the costs of his actions, because he crossed a line that shouldn't have been crossed. But he's young, and stupid, and a raging emotional mess, and that's what happens sometimes when you get pushed just that extra distance.

I wouldn't have wished this on Santana, and I don't think she deserves it, but she's not blameless in the least, for ramping up the bullying and the hate and the spite to such toxic levels. Her constant attacking of other people, of emotionally assaulting them on ever level, had to draw down consequences of some sort, otherwise it would have sent a horrible message regarding bullying. What she did is just as "not okay" as what Finn did, in very different ways.

I just hope that once they're done breaking Santana down, they can build her back up as someone stronger and happier and more able to deal with the world. And I hope Finn has to perform extreme acts of contrition. Maybe public service with PFLAG?

Sorry to be wordy, but as a former victim of bullying, this really has been churning around inside of me.

Norma Desmond said...

Whew, lots of comments on this one... Bottom line, from my POV, is that I agree with everything you say, as freaking usual. No one deserves to be outed, whether they are a bully or not.

I have been lucky enough in my life, so far, to, by and large, do all my own outing. There have been those infrequent moments of sheer panic, though, when I thought I was about to be outed to someone I wasn't ready to be outed to. I'm a grown, adult woman (in spite of what some of your readers apparently think of the rest of your readership) and even now it isn't always easy to make that little comment or say those simple words.

In the end, every single time we come out, we're taking a risk. And no one, but NO ONE, should be allowed to push you into that position of potential danger without your consent. It's the worst kind of forcing one's will on another that I can think of.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, thank you. I have not watched the episode but started crying whilst reading your post. It was only after the earlier episode of 'Sexy' that I was even able to admit who I was to myself. I am a long from coming out to my family who I know will hate me for it. However, when I decide to I want it to be because I am ready to and for no other reason.

Anonymous said...

agree with Simone
Glee is total BS, nothing to save or to think for that matte

Shade said...

Thank you. You're my hero!

Shade said...

Thank you. You're my hero!

LT said...

Thank you for saying these. (with some of the crazy things that are happening online, on AE)

I couldn't say better myself.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous from 12:57 AM, what you wrote about Finn was just so, so accurate and bears repeating:

"Pushed to his emotional limits, faced with an uncertain future, forced to cope with the fact that he's just not good enough to follow his dreams as they are, increasingly confused and frightened and unsteady, and then along comes Santana. And she pokes and prods and insults every facet of his being: his weight, his looks, his singing, his dancing, his sexual prowess, his girlfriend. She pushes him and yeah, what he does is wrong, but I -know- what it's like to be pushed so far that all thoughts of rational, reasonable, sane retaliation fly out the window. I know what it's like to want to go straight for the nuclear option, to scorch the earth and utterly annihilate the problem, and damn the costs."

That's some brilliant, gorgeously worded close reading. And I'm so sorry you've been put in that position before.

As for Santana: I'm a little disturbed by the number of people minimizing her behavior as "bitchy" or "mean" in this episode. Really, she was vile, violent, abusive, toxic; laughter is absolutely *not* a normal reaction to watching someone bleed.

She may not have deserved a public outing (and like you, DS, I normally agree with Maddow's three basic beliefs about the ethics of coming out), but Santana needed, at the very least, an intervention on Tuesday, because that toxic level of hate was ruining her character and poisoning everyone around her.

That's obviously not to say she's a bad person. She's been kicked all her life, and she's bearing a huge secret, so, naturally, she's lashing out at the world in self-defense. I don't want to tread into dangerous territory and talk about race and gender, but...well, being a woman and a racial minority does make you more vulnerable, doesn't it? As does being a closeted gay woman in a potentially neglectful, abusive family.

The Glee writers deserve credit where credit's due, I think. Kurt is a sweetheart because his father is a stand-up man and a supportive father, and Kurt's sexuality is really his only major burden. Santana is a "bitch"--and well beyond--because she doesn't have Kurt's luxuries. (Same with Quinn, right? It was pretty illuminating to see her family in the first season--and the Fabrays, incidentally, are pretty closely the mirror image of my family--and I've been known to lash out at the world like a frightened animal as well, although I'd like to believe I'm actually a pretty decent person at heart).

Santana didn't deserve to be outed, no. But the outing was a natural, realistic consequence of the situation.

I guess this is all just to echo everyone who saw Tuesday's Glee as supremely messy, morally ambiguous, and highly debatable.

And although us crazy bitches appreciate the unconditional love of the LGBT family, I think anyone who feels like Santana (or Quinn) should invest in therapy. Seriously, it's worth the money. I would know.

Anonymous said...

I think in the fictional world of television this is a powerful way to bring to light the pain, hurt and confusion it is to be a closeted teen and how words mean things and have consequences. I totally agree that the character Finn crossed a line regardless of Santana's tirade and hurtful rhetoric. But I applaud the writers for doing this as subsequent episodes can explore teen bullying, pain and thought of suicide just due to who your attracted to. Bring to light the bullying and how words and actions have profound consequences for both. In life I have always had the stance that coming out is a private , personal thing that only the person involved can do...whether this is a regular person or celebrity or politician. My one caviot, Dorothy Surrenders brings up, is those people in political office who influence law and policy makers that are closeted yet vote to keep equal rights both in civil unions and in work place rights out of our reach.

Amanda M said...

Like any good lesbian, I've spent a lot of time processing my feelings about this episode.

I don't understand the she-deserved-it argument. I know that Santana has been mean and sometimes downright vicious toward people, but I don't think that applies to Finn. Bullying takes advantage of a person's isolation. Santana doesn’t generally attack the weak, she goes after strong people to try to give herself an advantage over them.

If she had been targeting Rory, that would be bullying. Finn is the QB of the football team; she's the head cheerleader. They're equals in the high-school hierarchy, so it's disingenuous to call what she was doing bullying at all. She had a rivalry with Finn; even he said that it was "trash talk". He had told Rory that they needed to find a way to get into her head. He believed that outing her to the school was equivalent to simple competitive behavior. It was NOT a response to being bullied.

Bent said...

I am no gasper, but when Finn said that to Santana in the hallway, I did an out loud so you can hear it gasp. I felt it in my gut and in my soul.
Thanks Ms Snarker for this wonderful post that says everything I feel but didn't have these great words in this order to convey to anyone. I will point them to you, and not for the first time.

Pipistrello said...

Excellent article and I agree with everything you said save for one point "no one deserves to be outed". This I respectfully disagree with. People who fly the "family values" banner and work to oppress a minority that they belong to do indeed deserve to be outed to expose their hypocrisy. You can't pass laws to restrict the rights of gay people during the week and then pick them up in airport bathrooms on the weekend and not deserve to get bitten in the ass by that. But that isn't the mainstream high school life you were discussing in your post. You really elevated the point of a show that has been anything but elevated this season.

Elizabeth said...

I totally agree that a normal person should be able to come out at their own pace, their own decision, their own timing. But the Finn/Santana confrontation did not happen in a vacuum. She was not some hapless victim. She was a victimizer who was attacking someone she was once not just friends with, but lovers with. She outed his first sexual encounter - and belittled it - she has outed most of her Glee-mates own secret pain.

I also want to add that Finn didn't "out" Santana, the a-hole running for Senate is the one outing a High School minor on a TV ad because his daughter overheard their discussion.

Finn didn't video tape her and broadcast it, he didn't start a face book page, he didn't announce it at the cafeteria. He responded to her very hurtful, and constant, taunts.

After a certain point, Santana loses a lot of her ground with me due to her behavior. You can't go around bullying people, outing all their pain and secrets, being mean to people who thought they were your friends without some repercussions.

Santana has to own her side of this, she pushed everyone too far, she was mean, she was the bully on the school yard. She got burned because she hurt a friend and that friend was trying to reach her on a different level.

It happened in a school hallway, but no way do I consider that Finn outing Santana, not when Santana and Brit walk down the hall holding hands and cuddling and everyone knows they party kiss. It's the guy who put it out there on an ad that was wrong. And Santana for being so mean she pushed a friend to the breaking point.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!
I'm a middle aged straight man that stumbled on your blog a while back. I check in once in a while because we have similar tastes in women. Yes, Tina Fey is beautiful, intelligent and funny. Tank tops are sexy and most women are beautiful in some way if you look for it.

I started reading some of your stuff instead of just checking out the pictures and you too are intelligent, sometimes funny and sometimes thought provoking. This was a thought provoking read.

I've seen Glee but never watched it for more than a few minutes. I didn't see last nights show.

As you explained, I will never be able to know what it is like to come out. I do however have a much clearer view of it now. Even though I really had never given it much thought, it is much more intense than I could have realized.

I have a few friends, men and women, that are out and a few more that might be gay. I haven't asked. It doesn't matter. I now have a better understanding of what they have and will go through.

You made me really think about this and it was incredibly eye opening.

Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

No one deserves outing, especially a teenager in a hostile environment. Because that's what Santana is. Our beliefs about not outing closeted people should apply to all gays, not just the ones who act like angels. If your beliefs only apply to good people, you don't really hold those beliefs do you?

Kiwi said...

That is one of the most powerful, intelligent, accurate blogs you have written Ms Snarker. A credit to you, your ethics and your intelligence - many thanks!

ysubassoon said...

No one has ever risked being disowned, made homeless, or killed because someone said they were fat. No one ever tried to rape someone else to make them thin. The comparisons between outing someone and insulting one's appearance, religion, etc. are false. There is nothing equivalent. There are no laws that criminalize obesity, but there are countries where one can be arrested for being gay, and sentenced to life or put to death (Iran comes to mind first). Stop conflating things that have nothing to do with one another.

Thursday said...

Thank you so much for this post; it is beautiful. I don't watch Glee (I know, bad lesbian) but what you said about coming out really hit home for me. I'm trying to balance my life by being out to some and not to others, and it's hard. I have conflicting emotions about it every day. This post helped me to know that I'm not alone. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Santana should have been outed, neither do I believe that she should have bullied Finn like that. Both Santana and Finn don't deserve any of this, if Glee is trying to send a message that bullying is wrong, then they should really make the next few episodes about the effects of bullying and make both Santana and Finn realise that what they did to each other was wrong. Santana might be a massive bitch, but Finn is also being a jerk to other people like Blaine who just sits there and puts up with his crap. I think both of these characters should learn that bullying someone doesn’t make you any better or worse than that other person, it doesn't make you stronger. No person deserves to be bullied! Glee has the amazing opportunity to set an example in the next few episodes and I hope they will take advantage of it.

Anonymous said...

soapbox much?
nothing like simplistic moralizing.

Ah, I love the smell of arrogance in the morning.

Versi said...

Thank you so much for putting that feeling into words.

the old phib said...

Wonderful episode, wonderful songs, wonderful Naya...there's just one thing that annoys me...yes...Finn...it's like an underlying mistake...every Glee character like everyone of us in real life has a good and a dark side - except for Brittany, but she's like a wonderful magic fairy - but everyone has always paid for every mistake, such as Rachel, Quinn and most of all the poor Santana – yes, I love her anything she does and I can’t understand who doesn’t...but why the hell Finn seems to be above the human and real painful side of the mistakes you make? Does he want Rachel? He's got Rachel. Does he want Quinn? He's got Quinn. Does he want a solo? He's got the solo. Does he want be mean to Santana? He can do that without any kind of consequence. Okay, you can say maybe Santana wouldn't ever have come out if he didn't do the horrible and unforgettable thing he did, but he did one of the meanest mistakes a person can do - not telling about his cruel words about the according to him doubtful love coming from Brittany, when the blonde clearly deeply loves her, it's evident - and he has to pay. And, holy christ, Santana restricts herself to tell him he's fat, how can these two nasty things be compared?? But we have to breath, breath and wait for the divine punishment he deserves...breath...breath and think about how Brittana is meant to be...and according to me the award of the episode goes to the "stop the violence" moment...God...perfect...I know these sweet little Brittana moments is all that we Brittana shippers have, but their perfect imperfection compensates us for all that we haven't seen yet.

Fernanda said...

Just quickly dropped by to post the behind the scenes with the Santana slapping Finn thing. Naya is so adorable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hWHaiBOph8

I never watched Glee but this Santana/Britanny story line honestly got me wondering. Also, I confess that I watched the Adele mash-off around 17 times and apparently I am not close to getting tired of seeing that wonder (and let me say... Santana is so subtly beautiful, sexy and full of emotion on that).

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