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Synonyms: exposure, Fandom Closet
See also: pseudonym
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In modern US culture, outing generally refers to exposing someone's LGBT identity.

An LGBT person may also choose to out themselves; this is referred to as coming out of the closet, or just coming out. For example, the actor Neil Patrick Harris came out as gay in 2006.[1]

In fiction, author J.K. Rowling outed her elderly character Albus Dumbledore after the Harry Potter series was finished.[2]

Outing Fans

In fandom, outing someone means revealing their fannish activities to a non-fannish person or community. This may be done by direct contact with Real Life family or acquaintances of the fan by other fans. (Many fandoms have rumours about such incidents, but many people don't want to talk specifics in public.)

Outing may also occur when a fan's pseudonym is connected to their given or legal name. Depending on what activities the fan is involved in, this may lead to parental estrangement, marriage and child custody problems, religious rejection, employment problems, or even violence.needs examples Slash writers have been particularly vulnerable to outing.

Fear of these effects, even if they don't apply to all people in fandom, has led to a fandom culture of respecting privacy and pseudonymity. Most fans frown on the practice of outing or "doxing" as it is known to hackers and trolls. To "drop docs" on an anonymous user, revealing her legal name, address and other private information, is a common harassment practice, but also has legitimate uses, e.g., to locate criminals.

Most anon memes, even hate memes, have rules about not outing fans or "breaking flock".

Fannish outings have been perpetrated by Laura Hale who chose to connect fandom names and real names on her Fan History Wiki.

In many Japanese-speaking fandoms, the phrase "coming out" (カミングアウト, kamingu auto) is used to mean "coming out as a fan" by revealing one's fannish activities to a non-fannish person or community.[3] This fannish "coming out" may or may not be voluntary, and like fans elsewhere, Japanese fans take various measures to prevent accidental outing. For instance, faces in pictures taken at fannish locations or events (such as Akihabara, Otome Road, or doujinshi conventions) are often blurred, and during many conventions, taking pictures is strictly regulated or even forbidden outside of areas designated for cosplay. Fear of outing also has an impact on efforts to preserve older doujinshi. Today, the contact information for a doujinshi circle contained in each doujinshi is most often an e-mail address or website URL. Especially before the internet came along, however, many fans included their real postal addresses, names, or telephone numbers in their doujinshi. Since these details could be used to out fans, doujinshi preservation efforts such as the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library[4] are taking measures to prevent such information from being viewed by people who have no affinity with fandom. For instance, doujinshi in the library's collection can only be viewed by registered long-term paying members[5], and the library is also planning to cover identifying information with stickers upon request by fans.[6]

Fanlore's Policies on Outing

Fanlore's policies on outing for this wiki say:

Our default assumption is that identity exposure is unwanted. If we discover that someone's identity has been exposed, the page will be reverted, and the history removed.[7]


  1. ^ EXCLUSIVE: Neil Patrick Harris Tells PEOPLE He Is Gay November 03, 2006, accessed 2010-07-26
  2. ^ Outing Dumbledore: Time Magazine Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007
  3. ^ Kaneda, Otohiko (金田一「乙」彦). 2009. Encyclopedia of the Otaku Terms (オタク語事典). Bijutsu Shuppansha (美術出版社). P83.
  4. ^ Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture official site. Last visited 11/04/2012.
  5. ^ “Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture: Using the Liberary.” http://www.meiji.ac.jp/manga/english/yonezawa_lib/guide. Last visited 11/04/2012
  6. ^ “Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture: Q&A (米沢嘉博記念図書館|Q&A).” http://www.meiji.ac.jp/manga/yonezawa_lib/qa/index.html#doujin. Last visited 11/04/2012.
  7. ^ Fanlore:Identity Protection page accessed 2010-07-26