The Wheel and Axle

Irresponsible and Dangerous Privilege

by on Aug.12, 2016, under Queer, Society

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Out Tongan Olympic swimmer Amini Fonua rightfully gave The Daily Beast the #burn.

There is absolutely no excuse to The Daily Beast’s stunt of an “article” – an article that ultimately served no true journalistic purpose.

Their faux-journalist – a straight white privileged male named Nico Hines – wrote an article that was, as The Slate perfectly put it, “sleazy, dangerous, and wildly unethical.” In it, Hines wrote about going on Tinder and Grindr as he wandered through the Olympic Village in Rio; he zero’ed in on Grindr (because, you know, gays are more promiscuous), then proceeded to out several gay athletes he met through the dating app.

Oh, he didn’t name them directly. No, that would be wrong. He only proceeded to describe them in detail, including their statistics, their events, and their goddamn nationalities. Because, you know, Google doesn’t exist, and no one would ever figure out who these people are.

Yes, this is privilege at its finest: straight privilege because it presumes that it is within a straight person’s bounds to out gay people for kicks; white privilege because it assumes that doing so would have no dangerous consequences to people who may come from notoriously homophobic non-white countries; male privilege because it is the patriarchy that has institutionalized that masculinity is to be deemed superior while those deemed to be less than masculine are subject to laughs and scrutiny.

For one thing, these are Olympians, folks who by virtue of their position are people bringing honor to their own respective countries. They are, in spirit, ambassadors of their nations. They are also participating and staying in place that has been declared a safe haven by the IOC.

Apparently, their status as ambassadors in a declared safe haven is not enough to give them basic respect simply because some asshole thinks they are “promiscuous gay people.” Being gay trumps being an athlete, and perhaps Nico Hines is threatened by the fact that most of these gay athletes can beat the shit out of him – while possibly having bigger penises.

Yes, I see an insecure man here with penis envy.

Of course, the bigger issue is that Nico Hines has not only outed several Olympians.

He violated the declared safe haven of these athletes through invasion of privacy.

He put the athletes in a position that can cause them to be alienated by intolerant teammates and, worse, intolerant family and friends. You, sir, are not entitled to say when a person will step out of the closet or not.

Worse, he put lives in potential danger.

Suicide of closeted gay teenagers who have a hard time coping is a very real thing, and as angry out Tongan athlete Amini Fonua pointed out, one of the athletes outed is only eighteen years old. How sure is the pathetic slimeball Nico Hines sure that this boy is well-adjusted enough not to have a breakdown after being outed internationally? To act so flippant about this reality is unacceptable.

Map of countries where homosexuality is illegal as of May 2016 (credits to 76crimes.com).

Moreover, there are athletes who come from countries where homophobia not only exists but is institutionalized under severe anti-gay laws. At least one of the athletes is said to come from one such country. The moment this “news” reaches back home, there will not just ruined be careers but potential imprisonment and perhaps even execution.

As a comment I saw put it: just yesterday, Colton Haynes spoke about the stress of being held responsible for his father killing himself supposedly because he found out Colton was gay. Today, the Daily Beast decides to out several Olympian athletes.

The lives and well-being of anyone – LGBT or straight – are not there to be endangered for the sake of clickbait articles.

Now, The Daily Beast has decided to take it down – but only after an initial half-assed attempt to keep it up by doing some edits. Still, we all know nothing truly disappears from the internet.

Congratulations, Daily Beast. You and Nico Hines are accessories to potential suicide and possible murder.

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