Facebook is starting to look like a hostile, not-so-social space for many members of the queer and trans community.
A couple of months ago, I shared the story of how the publicly traded company made a donation of $10,000 to Utah incumbent Attorney General Sean Reyes, the man who said he’d “spend whatever it takes” to fight the state after the court struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban in December.
Now Facebook is targeting drag queens with user accounts.
Sister Roma, a San Francisco drag personality and a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, said she was automatically logged out. When she attempted to sign back in, Facebook demanded she change her account to her “legal name, like the one that appears on your drivers’ license or credit card.”
In response, Sister Roma said she’d be taking down her account and focusing on her fan page.
This led to Facebook consulting with drag queen activists. A spokesperson for the site commented, “We had a good discussion with the group about their perspectives on our real name standard, and we stressed how the standard helps prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment.”
However, Buzzfeed notes, “Activists have raised similar concerns for transgender users who could be at risk if they no longer identify with the names they were given at birth and use chosen names on their Facebook profiles. Many transgender people, especially transgender youth, may not be able to legally change their names and provide proof of the name they identity with if asked by Facebook. And for some transgender users, being outed by having to use their legal names could be dangerous, the activists said.”
Similarly, I had a different name on my Facebook account for years after being harassed by a family member who had seen pictures of me in drag. I changed the name and privacy settings so it wouldn’t happen again.