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Closeted Harvard Students Inadvertently Outed By Facebook

Apparently some Harvard students don't realize that everything you do on social networks should be considered public, because The Crimson just published a story about Facebook-using undergrads being inadvertently outed to their parents when friends and events post LGBT-related items on their walls.

FacebookAs The Crimson puts it, "Queer students, especially, have found that ‘the closet’ on the Internet does not provide a very good lock."

Understanding Facebook’s privacy settings can be challenging, particularly due to frequent policy changes. Because of incidents like these, students said that they have become more cautious when using social media sites.

What's more interesting though are the precautions that some Harvard LGBT groups take to help protect the privacy of their possibly-closeted members:

Most of the BGLTQ groups on campus have varying forms of privacy clauses in their constitutions that allow students to hide or censor their membership to preserve confidentiality.

“Some [queer groups] are especially focused on being safe spaces where people can kind of explore themselves and come to terms with themselves,” [Allison Gofman ’14, leader of the queer Jewish organization BAGELS] said. “It’s important that you feel free to have people to talk to without having that go out to the whole world.”

QSA, the largest queer student group on campus, goes to great lengths to ensure students’ privacy by instituting policies regarding posting photos or recording names of members who speak during meetings. They also allow club officers to go by aliases on their website.

The upside of The Crimson's tale is that the two students they interviewed ended up being happy that Facebook outed them, so there's that. But remember kids, everyone can see everything you do online forever. If you don't want your business to be known, don't go online.

What's more troubling is the rising trend of haters using social networks to locate and commit violence against LGBT people — scary stuff indeed.

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  1. Anyone who posts personal information on the internet and expects it to remain private is a moron. They should be forced to sit in the corner and wear a helmet so they don't hurt themselves. These kids went to Harvard, sheeesh, what does that say about Harvard ?!?!

    Posted by: I wont grow up | Dec 8, 2013 11:42:08 AM

  2. Harvard has both among the most impressive and stupidest students I've seen at any school. (The disparity is usually due to money and connections for the dumb ones---as always.)

    If these 16-22 year olds didn't know anything about online privacy, they're idiots. It's Facebook. And they should know a whole lot more about it than me.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 8, 2013 11:48:39 AM

  3. Facebook is of the devil. That is all.

    Posted by: Bertrille | Dec 8, 2013 11:50:40 AM

  4. Or they could transfer to Yale, come out, and join the party.

    Posted by: babh | Dec 8, 2013 12:02:45 PM

  5. Anything that anyone puts on-line in social media is public! 'Tis as simple as that!

    Posted by: RonCharles | Dec 8, 2013 12:03:51 PM

  6. there is no such thing as "BGLTQ"

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Dec 8, 2013 12:09:09 PM

  7. One might expect Harvard students to be smarter than this.

    Posted by: Pervy McPerv | Dec 8, 2013 12:15:22 PM

  8. Wow, they're pretty damn cowardly. Just come out of the closet and get it over with.

    Posted by: Eric26 | Dec 8, 2013 12:20:35 PM

  9. "there is no such thing as "BGLTQ"

    LOL. Yeah, that's a new one. I always thought the L came first in LGBT because effeminate gay men always get their butts kicked by lesbians and are not about to stand up to them under any circumstances, so the L should take precedence over all. Of course, if you were going to be logical about it, the G should come first because it really encompasses in some way all the others (except T, which should not be there att all), if G means being sexually attracted to members of the same gender.

    Putting the B first is interesting--it makes sense in that the B group is numerically the largest, but then again, they are the least "oppressed" since they can fit in to straight society whenever they want to, so by that criterion, they should be last.

    Q is totally meaningless--if it stands for "queer", then it is not a separate category from all the others....if it stands for "questioning", then it encompasses the entire human race, since all people are always questioning their true sexuality.

    Posted by: Rick | Dec 8, 2013 12:27:39 PM

  10. Stop calling everyone queer!

    Posted by: Twitdude | Dec 8, 2013 12:28:07 PM

  11. Don't forget that college kids are still very young (18-21 in most cases). They might not be ready to come out. It's painful to have your homosexuality discovered by some means other than on your own terms.

    However, they will eventually be thankful the issue of their sexually has been resolved by any means. To struggle throughout adulthood is a terrible fate. Perhaps leaving clues on social media is really just a cry for help.

    Posted by: JonnyNYNY2FLFL | Dec 8, 2013 12:36:21 PM

  12. @(p)Rick

    I heard that it's now called LGBT, rather than the original GLBT, because some years ago LG corp sponsored a GLBT event and at their request, because subliminal marketing, asked for LG to come first.

    Can anyone confirm this?

    Posted by: Cornbot | Dec 8, 2013 12:38:46 PM

  13. @Twitdude


    Posted by: Cornbot | Dec 8, 2013 12:41:15 PM

  14. fb can be very homophobic

    Posted by: Patrick | Dec 8, 2013 12:49:58 PM

  15. please don't quote the QSA or BAGELS, the two most marginal student organizations at Harvard. Both do nothing on campus aside from meeting and talking about a bunch of plans everyone is too lazy to execute. Next.

    Posted by: Kris | Dec 8, 2013 12:56:58 PM

  16. Equality for all! check out this gay rights tshirt and spread the message http://teespring.com/equalrightstshirt

    Posted by: Equality | Dec 8, 2013 1:05:22 PM

  17. Asking Rick for clarification? That is unwise. He can only help you become a self loathing bigot.

    Posted by: Eric26 | Dec 8, 2013 1:57:09 PM

  18. BGLTQ sounds like a bacon sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, and Gouda.

    Posted by: will | Dec 8, 2013 2:07:05 PM

  19. BGLTQ FTW! Haha! It's like a BLT, only gayer.

    Posted by: Lucas H | Dec 8, 2013 2:21:44 PM

  20. @Eric

    Probably true. Racist gay white males are the worst. No doubt that is what "Rick" is.

    Posted by: Cornbot | Dec 8, 2013 2:28:18 PM

  21. Rick, honey, you're more obnoxious than usual today which is saying something for you. And, what IS this obsession of yours with "effeminacy"? What are you? Some self-loathing, closeted, sissy fag homo?

    A quick observation: one gets the feeling the Crimson article was written by a straight person. You know, sort of a "walk on the wild side" experience for the writer and in an effort to add some "hip cred", the writer botched it and wrote BGLTQ without understanding the significance of the acronym.

    Personally, one hopes that one day we can live in an acronym-free world, if for any reason so that we don't have to read your silly takes on what LGBTQ might mean.

    Anyway, most of us here regard you, Rick, with bemused disdain. One wishes that you could be done away with, banished forever from our magical LGBTQ kingdom. But what is a magical kingdom without the troll lurking under the bridge over the moat?

    Even so, one so wants the opportunity to meet you in person and then slap the hell out of you for at least 3 to 4 hours.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Dec 8, 2013 2:28:40 PM

  22. Gay people are not queer.

    I am not "Rick" or any of the posters above. I don't know why there is this need to attribute every dissenting opinion to a Great Satan known as Rick. I suppose it is to invalidate th opinions and avoid a substantive discussion.

    There are good reasons why we should not call ourselves queer. This is not about reclaiming an old slur. It is about defining gay people as permanent outsiders. Of course, gay people might be outsiders. But "queer" takes away their freedom to chart their own course in life. It takes away the agency that every human being is entitled to.

    For any gay young person to be told this is horrific. That elite gay youth at Harvard would be told this is laughable.

    Posted by: Darian | Dec 8, 2013 3:03:58 PM

  23. @Darian

    The irony is that while we are called queer, the truest meaning of that word can be applied to the enduring (but ending) quality of bigotry against natural born homosexual and bisexual individuals, which is absurd in nature and against inborn ethics.

    We did all get along, but then something happened ...

    Posted by: Cornbot | Dec 8, 2013 3:16:38 PM

  24. I agree with many of the other posters. I find it incredibly offensive for a gay person to be referred to as "queer" under the guise of reclaiming the term. It's a hateful, pejorative word, used as a weapon by the bigoted, that has caused many kids to kill themselves. The people behind the organization should be shamed.

    Posted by: John | Dec 8, 2013 5:11:17 PM

  25. One of the reasons we started being called queer in the first place is the definition of the word:

    1. Deviating from the expeccted or normal; strange

    2. Of a questionable nature or character; suspicious; shady

    3. Not feeling physically right or well; giddy, faint

    4. Mentally unbalanced or deranged

    Then came "effeminate, unmanly", a disparaging term for a homosexual person

    Really. It's not worth "reclaiming". Old hate and blood are attached to it. Let it go.

    Posted by: will | Dec 8, 2013 5:30:37 PM

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