Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence
Warren Johansson
William A. Percy
[Haworth Press, 1994]


Description from Haworth Press: Here is the most complete book on outing — the exposure of closet homosexual cases in high places. Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence is the first historicist treatment of the intolerance of homosexuality in any language. Authors Johansson and Percy analyze the subject from the perspective of the shifting religious attitudes toward homosexual expression. They do not blithely parrot the "right to privacy," but examine the dialectical meaning of privacy. This provocative book focuses on the irreconcilable opposition between the belief in privacy and the assumption of Christian theology that all homosexual activity is visible to the God whose wrath it provokes.

The authors hold that outing is a legitimate tactic for reinforcing the identity and solidarity of the Queer Nation in its struggle for vindication and survival in the age of AIDS. And this book provides readers with a host of issues and definitions and stimulates ideas on outing:

- political and ethical issues
- media treatment of sexual behavior and identity
- social visibility and invisibility
- when to out and when not to out
- celebrities and their images
- the social situation of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual
- life histories of the two principal outers and their techniques

In their "Tactical Guide to Outing," the authors present areas to consider before proceeding with outing: the potential outee's career, income, and place of residence; the nature of the outee's sexual life; family circumstances of the subject; nature of the outee's reputation; motives of the outer; libel and slander; and publicity. Consideration of these areas will allow readers to more clearly decide on "To Out or Not to Out." Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence is today's guide to understanding and accomplishing the task of outing.

Order this book from Haworth Press, Amazon or Barnes and Noble booksellers.

Reviews/Commentaries:

“A lucid, well-written history and analysis of the practice of exposing other people’s homosexuality…Johansson and Percy offer vigorous challenge to the claim that privacy rights are an overriding principle, arguing that loyalty to the collective ‘Queer Nation’ is a superior good. A surprisingly balanced final section on tactics and limitations will give pause to overzealous and indiscriminate ‘outers.’”
- Paul Varnell, Syndicated Columnist, Windy City Times


“The first book of such scope on this topic. The authors review the scientific, political, and human dimensions society’s intransigent determination to deny the very existence of those men and women whose affections turn toward their own sex has inflicted on that entire population. The authors impeach this malevolent form of oppression with truly Swiftian scorn and respond with a manifesto of refusal to any longer endure or tolerate such evasion and denigration…They offer a detailed program for use by the Queer Nation which the view as a burgeoning new campaign of emancipation irresistibly welling up into expression all around us today.”
- W. Dorr Legg, MLD, ONE institute of Homophile Studies, Los Angeles


“Our lives sparkle through every page of this book. OUTING shatters the conspiracy of past and present (and let us hope future) silences about our love. ‘Silence Equals Death’ becomes today’s rallying call. We are everywhere. We are in everyone. Nowhere are we free.”
- Charles Shively, Ph.D., American Studies Program, University of Massachusetts Boston


“This lengthy, readable, informative and often entertaining work explores the hot debate in our community over the use of outing as a tactic in our war against institutionalized homophobia. The question divides those who follow Queer Nation’s anarchic in-your-face styles from those who work for gay progress in incremental or orthodox political and educational ways…Percy and Johansson perceptively tie together our history and [this] prominent conflict dividing our movement today.”
- Jim Kepner, Veteran Gay Activist; Curator, International Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles

Bounty Offered by William A. Percy in 1994:

hereby offer $10,000 to anyone who first succeeds in outing a living American cardinal, a sitting justice of the United States Supreme Court, or a four-star officer on active duty in any branch of the U.S. armed forces. By outing mean disclosing his or her homosexual orientation or practices to the public through the mass media, so that neither the person nor his or her colleagues of equal rank can effectively deny the accusation. If the outee admits the allegations, so much the better. If not, the educated public must be convinced as evidenced by media coverage and/or public opinion polls. In short, the allegations must stick.

Revised Bounty Offer, 2005:

Now a decade later, after the Supreme Court decriminalized sodomy, and one hopes, as I believe they will, strikes down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” I remove Supreme Court justices from the bounty offer. But because the Catholic clergy and the armed forces still discriminate so harshly against homosexuals, I reaffirm my offer, except that I now am raising the bounty to $20,000.

William A. Percy Online © 2005