You folks who are using pen names have every right to use them. Authors have always used pen names and they have good reasons for doing it.
Some don’t want a conflict of interest with their day jobs. Some don’t want family members to find out what they write. Others like to hop genres so they don’t confuse their readers. And the list goes on, and in each case there’s usually a valid, individual reason.
So if you’re using a pen name, you don’t have to expose yourself. There’s nothing wrong with pen names. I may or may not use one in the future. It all depends on what I decide to write down the line. I have in the past, and I found it arduous at best to keep up with the pen name. I didn’t like *not* being who I was. I probably should have used a pen name with A YOUNG WIDOW’S PROMISE, but I decided I’d rather promote it with my real name. Like I said, the pen name thing didn’t work for me. Unfortunately, A YOUNG WIDOW’S PROMISE, which is a historical and a genre I don’t usually tackle, might wind up tanking. But I was prepared for that and I have no regrets.
I fully understand how authors in the m/m genre feel about using their own names. There’s still a lot of discrimination out there. For me, it was a personal decision to always use my real name and identity whenever I wrote LGBTQ fiction because that’s who I am. And I honestly don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. Using my own name also gives me leverage when I’m under attack.
But if you are using a pen name and writing fiction, you have nothing to worry about. Unless you are actively deceiving the public and leading them on in an unethical way, no one is going to fault you for protecting your identity. Just don’t abuse the pen name. That can be dangerous.