Facebook’s new “real name” policy has come under fire as the drag queen community has been up in arms over the recent suspension of many performers’ accounts.
A Facebook spokesperson said that the move was to “keep the community safe,” and that their new policy is straightforward. Simply put, the name you put on Facebook should be the same name that is listed on a credit card, birth certificate, or state issued identification.
The drag queen community argues that this is discriminatory, since Facebook has long asked users to use their legal names, but allowed performers to use their persona names, or what most would consider their stage names.
One drag queen from the San Francisco area called the policy “unfair, hurtful, discriminatory and an invasion of privacy,” in a Facebook post.
This performer, known to her fans as “Sister Roma,” is now under her legal name, which is largely unknown by the people she has immersed herself with throughout the years.
As one pointed out, this could prove to be a crushing blow to the drag queen community because performers are being given the option to accept either a name Facebook gives, choose their legal name or lose everything on their account – and be permanently suspended.
In an emailed statement Facebook offered that, “If people want to use an alternative name on Facebook, they have several different options available to them, including providing an alias under their name on their profile, or creating a page specifically for that alternative persona.”
Simple advice though for a difficult situation.
Many performers argue that they utilize their stage names, or persona names on social media accounts like Facebook to ensure their personal safety as well.
Facebook themselves pointed out that this was not a broad sweeping move. In fact, the move was specifically only occurring after a member of the Facebook Team was required to investigate individual pages – after complaints were made by the Facebook Community.
The hostility towards those in this industry shows the challenge that the drag queen community is going to continue to face, not just in their day-to-day lives, but also in their online lives, as well.
A petition to fight the ruling and allow drag queens to continue using their persona names has already acquired over 6,800 signatures.