Facebook, that evil corporate giant who has been denying drag queens their god-given right to use their self-created personas (as well as putting sex workers and victims of domestic abuse at risk), has agreed to meet with members of the LGBT community today. Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, plans to bring with her emails she has received from people around the country who have been adversely affected by the new rule:
“I am overwhelmed and moved to tears by the literally hundreds of emails I have received from people who are sharing their compelling stories explaining why they don’t use their ‘real’ name on Facebook,” she wrote in one of many Facebook posts on the subject. “I want you all to know that you are not alone, there are many people who were abused, shunned, discriminated against, fought custody battles, survived addiction, and maintain profiles that are very real and very separate from your legal identity.”
While, it’s not clear what changes, if any, will come from the meeting — it’s an indication the company is taking the concerns seriously and attempting to get ahead of the growing controversy.
So far, of course, Facebook’s response to the controversy has been remarkably tonedeaf.
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. As part of our overall standards, we ask that people who use Facebook provide their real name on their profile.
Which, let’s be real, isn’t much of an option. For starters, you can’t send or receive messages on a fan page or get invitations (two of the main reasons drag queens use Facebook). It also ignores the larger ethical problem
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener has also come out against the policy. “While I understand Facebook’s desire to make profiles transparent and not allow people to hide behind fake personas, the fact is that for many drag queens, their drag names *are* their real personas,” he wrote in a lengthy statement on Facebook. “Facebook needs to understand the reality of our community and adjust its policy to allow for this diversity.”