Facebook Forces Drag Queens And Trans People To Use “Real Names”

September 15, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

UPDATE: Facebook has agreed to meet with Sister Roma and other affected drag queens at the request of San Francisco city Supervisor David Campos.

Drag queens, trans people and others who go by names other than those on their birth certificate are being forced by Facebook to change their account to their “real name” or have their profile deactivated. Sister Roma, a well known performer and member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, was one of the first to speak up when Facebook made her change her personal profile to her birth name, “Michael Williams.”

Sister 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’ license or credit card.'”

Until Roma conformed to the site’s demands by adjusting the page to reflect her legal name, Michael Williams, her account was suspended. Having been on the site as Sister Roma since 2008, this was the first time she had ever been prompted to change her name.

Others have claimed that Facebook threatened to delete their profiles if they did not send a scan of their drivers license or passport proving their legal name. There has been much outcry in the LGBT community over Facebook’s actions, and a Change.org petition has been created asking that Facebook allow performers to use their stage names on their profiles.

Going by a legal name can be dangerous for those who are persecuted for their gender or sexuality, or are not “out” to those who know them by that name. Sister Roma put out a call on Facebook asking for non-drag queens to explain why they use a “fake name.” Responses have included a mental health therapist who said that “when people are escaping domestic violence they do not want their abuser to find them so they use a pseudonym,” and burlesque performers who wrote that if they didn’t use a stage name they could be fired from their day jobs. (Photo: Wikipedia)