Assignment #4: I’ve got a secret

Ivonne Gamboa

I will grade this when you repost it with your name and team number on top.

Thesis statement: Keeping secrets under confidentiality agreements often nurtures growth of lies to protects a person’s violation of solitude and identity.

My senior year of high school, my best friend Sebastian confided in me a secret about his sexual orientation. While Sebastian opened up to me, I felt how anxious and difficult this was for him to say after keeping that part of himself confidential for his entire life. Keeping his secret was not a burden to me, I never felt emotional stress or guilt to disclose with others because I felt like it wasn’t my secret to tell. Above all, I was protecting Sebastian. As explained by Professor Blevens, I protected Sebastian’s identity against ridicule and intrusion of personal space from fellow peers. Throughout high school, many students always speculated Sebastian was gay and me, being his best friend, I was always the main target for questions. After knowing Sebastian’s truth, I felt the obligation to protect him from student’s attempting to penetrate the secret by diverting the conversation and lying by declining “rumors.” Lying did not make me feel guilty because I had a “prima facie duty” to uphold and Sebastian’s trust was more important than other’s longing for knowing.

Before watching Bleven’s lecture, I never realized the empowerment both parties feel when revealing a secret. I felt empowerment because I was the only person to know this huge secret about someone who would remember this moment for the rest of their lives. I also felt empowerment because, besides Sebastian himself, I was in control over the flow of information, which I would never expose unless told to do so. My responsibility protected his four human elements: his identity, his plans to come out when he decided it was right, his action on how to do it and lastly his property, which in turn is his autonomy or reputation. Sebastian felt empowerment because he felt a weight lifted off his shoulders and comfortable in his own skin with his closest friend. This experience made our relationship stronger because in exchange I opened up to him about my own secrets, which held him responsible for the secrecy of my confessions and we created a closer bond because of it.

After two years, Sebastian was finally able to come out his sophomore year of college to his family during a holiday gathering and his friends through social media. Many people started to ask me if I knew and remembered how I dismissed or at times lied on behalf of him. It didn’t make me feel any different about keeping the secret because it allowed Sebastian to find his true identity and expose himself when he was comfortable enough to do so. There was times where I felt an urge to say something in the moment to free him of constant badgering but I always felt an obligation to remain loyal and put his emotions and trust above all else. In the end, we see the links between secrecy that protects lies and secrecy that nurtures growth of lies. It’s very difficult to keep a confidentiality agreement without the use of either when protecting from outsiders attempting to penetrate insider information. Very well done. A great example and application of concepts from class. Glad you were able to support your friend the way he needed you to at the time and glad he was able to feel comfortable later, too.

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