Facebook has started cracking down on the names people are using on the site in an effort to “keep our community safe.”
But among those affected by this policy shift are performers, including drag queens, who don’t go by their legal names and are more well-known by their stage names or nicknames.
And they are outraged and have even started a petition to change the policy. “Although our names might not be our ‘legal’ birth names, they are still an integral part of our identities, both personally and to our communities,” the petition reads.
Michael Williams, better known as Sister Roma, is one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an LGBT organisation focused on community service and drag performances. The group has been around since the late 1970s.
Roma says that she was suspended from using the site until she adjusted it to contain her legal name. She’s been using the name Sister Roma on Facebook since 2008, according to the Daily Dot.
“I was automatically logged out and told my account was suspended because it appears that I’m not using my real name,” Roma told the Daily Dot. “I was instructed to log in and forced to change the name on my profile to my ‘legal name, like the one that appears on your drivers’ licence or credit card.'”
Roma has been using the hashtag #MyNameIsRoma on Facebook and Twitter to bring attention to the issue and to fight against the policy.
In February, Facebook announced that it was rolling out a customisation option with about 50 different words people can use to identify their preferred gender. So it’s unclear why the company would force people to use a name that’s on their driver’s licence, but not necessarily the gender that’s listed there.
“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,” a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider. “As part of our overall standards, we ask that people who use Facebook provide their real name on their profile.”
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