When I first started at another site, I always wondered why people who wanted to remain anonymous would post pictures of themselves, even if their face wasn’t in the picture (and sometimes people did post pictures with their faces). I was nervous even to have my screen name as the last poster on a topic, afraid that someone would recognize me from my screen name.
When I had my first makeover, I wanted to show pictures to others. I used the digital block effect filter (making super large pixels) on my face. (Later I realized that squinting can make the image more visible.) But a few months later when I went to a meetup group of CD/TG ladies and supporters, when I was asked if I wanted to be in a group photo to be put up on the meetup group’s website (no pressure, just asked), I only hesitated for a moment before saying yes. As I got more confident, I started to realize that if I could let strangers see me, that I would let my online friends see me as well, full face.
One time the group did some shopping at Dress Barn. I invited my (then) wife to go out. We took photos at the diner, and then took a group photo when we returned. Later, her sister found the pictures online. My guess is she was doing an image search for my (ex) wife and found the photo. My SIL told my ex that she didn’t approve of me dressing like a woman, but never said anything to me. My feeling was that I never asked nor needed her approval. The ability to just go out dressed and not be made fun of was something I wanted my whole life.
I’m not ashamed of who I am. My company has policies protecting the rights of people of different gender or gender expression. Although I still have people I would rather not know, it is more of because I don’t want to go into long winded explanations of why I am this way or answer question after question.
Hippie, if you’re worried about cameras, you should never go out at all. There are cameras everywhere nowadays. In stores, in front of stores, in streets, on roads. Some internet doorbells have cameras. Everyone walking around has a camera, and could take a picture of you without your knowing it and post it somewhere. Many people have their GPS turned on and the information may be stored in the exif data of the photo. I spent 50+ years of my life in hiding, and can’t do it any more. I have to be who I am.
If you’re worried about people hacking into CDH, buy yourself a gift card and use that for a few months before switching it out. Or many credit card companies can make virtual cards.
If you’re worried about the government finding out who you are or where you live, they can probably do that anyway if they wanted. Whenever you go online, you leave your internet address behind. This could be traced through your ISP back to you if they really wanted to. If you post a picture of yourself at home and block out your face, someone might recognize your house or your neighborhood.
Everybody has to choose their own comfort level. But don’t fool yourself into believing your perfectly safe by not posting a photo of yourself or of your face. We all leave digital fingerprints behind that, given the need and enough resources, could be used to trace us.