On Privacy, Paranoia, and the Exposed Identity

On Privacy, Paranoia, and the Exposed Identity April 14, 2019

“Privacy In Protest” by Pat Green

In a moment of honest carelessness, a regrettable thing happened. I lost my identity. State ID, Social Security card, debit and credit cards and a few other important things. When this happens there is a feeling of shame, anger and fear. Fear of exposure and exploitation. There are healthy and unhealthy reactions to fear of exposure. Privacy and paranoia exist on the razor’s edge. In this moment of profound exposure, you find yourself reliant on others while keeping a watchful eye on things to get worse.

I recently learned from a police officer the benefits of checking into hotels in what is known as incognito. He makes it a point to let the hotel know his name is not to be used or acknowledged or even spoken of by hotel staff. He also makes it known there will be no visitors expected. Once in the room the phone is placed on do not disturb mode. There is only one form of communication left, his cell phone. Hotels can use the 4th amendment to protect their guest’s privacy from everything except a court order.

The above is an example of protecting privacy and identity. Having a service to protect an identity in the case of a breach is protecting privacy. Paranoia can feel like protecting privacy, but it is based on the fear of loss of privacy is less healthy.

An example. In the case of the lost identification, your fear can affect your self esteem and instead of being proactive, you are reactionary. You may not disclose to important and trusted loved ones of the decisions you make and the full extent of the fear you are going through. In those moments you will make poor choices. Those include and are not limited to not telling others who love you the full extent of your fear and even lying out of a position of shame.

One path protects you and those you love. The other send out concentric ripples of pain that hurt others. I would love to tell you that both the healthy and unhealthy reactions to exposure are merely things I have studied, but they are things I have experienced. There is a benefit to being secure in privacy and there is a cost to being paranoid.

In families we see this happen in the manner of lies, secrets, and breaches of trust. Not just in families of blood and romance, but this exists in the realm of workplaces, churches and social networks of friends.

How This Relates To TransParent Expedition

We have a society that is becoming increasingly less safe for Transgender people and people of various sexualities. Privacy is something that needs to be protected with reasonable measures for very valid reasons. That fear of exposure can lead to some very human moments. Mistakes can be made, lies can be told, and secrets kept to the detriment of all.

What I have experienced is a momentary test of character and resolve that led to some success and some failure. The experience I have had is also a moment in time with short lived impact on my life and my safety. The experience someone who is LGBTQIA+ is a lifetime with life and death consequences.

Final Thoughts

Give those who live a lifetime of fear a break for their perceived shortcomings in matters of truth, trust and transparency. Should you ever get a momentary feel of what exposure and violation of privacy feels like, be mindful of your actions verses your reactions. The actions will serve you and others, the reactions will harm. Our identity must be protected. To be careful means so much and has layers.

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