Cross-dresser fears adult site hack will ‘out’ him
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — “Kim” is a cross-dresser in the Midwest. And he’s worried the personal information exposed by the recent adult website hack could reveal his secret double life.
The Adult FriendFinder hack laid bare more than 3.5 million people’s sexual preferences and fetishes.
One AdultFriendFinder.com user reached out to CNNMoney, on condition of anonymity, to explain why this particular data breach could be so devastating.
The truth could destroy business relationships — and his reputation.
“There is still a certain level of stigma in Middle America,” he said during a phone interview. “If you’re not a white, hetero Christian, you’re not one of ‘us.’ They’ll keep you at arm’s length. Unfortunately that exists, and it’s alive.”
He’s a small business owner in a tiny, traditional manufacturing town. During the day, he dresses like an average Joe. And his clients include well known, conservative Republican politicians.
But sometimes, underneath those blue jeans are a pair of women’s panties. Kim is a bisexual man who joined the Adult FriendFinder website to set up casual sex encounters with men and women. And he likes to wear women’s clothing while doing so.
Kim is his “dressed up as girl” name.
He loves the feel of stockings on his legs. He prefers the elegant and none-too-revealing look of evening dresses and skirts. And, with a hearty laugh, he admits “lace is fun.”
None of his friends or family knows. His ex-wife, his two children, his girlfriend — everyone’s in the dark. And Kim wants to keep it that way.
“Now I wonder if my government security clearance could somehow be affected and if I can work certain jobs, even though it shouldn’t matter,” he said. “I’m still the same reliable, trustable person I’ve always been. I take my work seriously and would never compromise it.”
Over the weekend, Kim logged into Adult FriendFinder, and the website told him his profile wasn’t among those exposed. He breathed a sigh of relief. But who’s to say hackers won’t eventually reveal every user on the site?
Some users have already been outed by name, including a Washington police academy commander, a nuclear research lab manager, a California state tax worker and a naval intelligence officer who supposedly tried to cheat on his wife.
The intensely personal nature of this information is what makes this hack worse than your average credit card data breach, Kim said.
“This is not something that just goes away,” Kim said. “People will know you’re the guy into swapping partners with your wife. Or you’re the burly football player who’s bisexual. I wish we lived in a world in which your personal preferences didn’t matter. But we do, and it sucks.”
“People are going to look at you weird — even if they’re doing the same thing,” he said.”
FriendFinder Networks, the company that owns and operates the adult website and several other brands, did not say what it’s doing to help customers cope with this situation.
And that gets at the worst part about this event: the betrayal of trust. To its 64 million members, Adult FriendFinder was a safehaven. Kim describes it as a “liberating” place where “you can finally be who you are and be accepted — or ignored — but never insulted.”
The website is still up. But the trust is gone.
By Jose Pagliery