28 October 2014

E-Mail Error Exposes Identites of Transgender Patients

You've been going to the clinic for a while.  Hopefully, you have--or are developing--a rapport with your doctor and therapist.  Perhaps you've begun to take hormones--or it's not far in the future. 

But you're still going to work under the name you were given at birth, in clothes and hairstyles deemed appropriate for the gender in which you were assigned.  Maybe your friends, family--or spouse or kids--don't yet know what you're doing.  You're preparing yourself for the "right" moment, whenever that comes, to "come out".

Or, perhaps, you're living in the gender of your mind and spirit.  But, to do that, you moved to a new community and, maybe, into a new line of work.  None of your neighbors or co-workers--or students or instructors, if you've decided to go back to school--knows about your former life, and you want to keep it that way.

Then the worst happens. At least, it's one of the worst possible things for someone in your situation.

Such a thing happened in Glasgow, Scotland.  Someone at the Sandyford Clinic in that city sent out an e-mail announcing an upcoming event to 86 patients.   That e-mail included recipients' e-mail addresses in the "to" section.  Worst of all, some of those addresses included all or part of the patients' names and birthdates.

I'm willing to believe that the error was accidental, as the clinic stated.  But that, for me, makes it even more worrisome, for it's a reminder that it doesn't take malice or violence to put us in danger. 

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