What should I do if I’m outed?

“Being outed” refers to a situation where someone discloses or discovers your trans identity without your consent.

Sometimes, the problem of being outed is caused by a lack of understanding rather than an intention to do harm. In these cases, you may wish to inform the person about your right to privacy and confidentiality, as well as the consequences of being outed for trans people. If you feel unsafe, you might choose to have an ally communicate this information for you.

If someone starts to react in a negative way, it’s best to stop them before they get too far. Put your hand up and say something like, “I was not actually asking for your opinion.” Exit the situation if you need to. For tips on dealing with a more hostile situation, refer to “Responding to negative reactions.”

Many trans people carry a letter from their doctor stating that they are trans and intend no deception or ill will. This can be useful if you are outed when, for example, you are crossing a border or dealing with police.