Last week, Facebook decided to force people to change their stage name to their real name on Facebook or their account would be deleted.
Facebook claims that using real names is for safety purposes and that those wanting to use fake names can create a “fan page.”
However, because of this change, many drag queens and others in the LGBT community have been outted by the social media site.
“I use this site to keep up with friends and simply don’t want my employers or crazy stalker people to log on and search me,” Bay Area drag queen Sister Roma, now using her legal name, Michael Williams said. “I want my friends to find me…I detest the idea of having a fan page. I’m not f—-ing Britney Spears. I have friends, not fans.”
On September 17, activists met face-to-face with Facebook for an hour-long meeting.
“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,” Facebook spokesperson Andrew Souvall said.
However, Roma said she is not happy with the meeting.
“We didn’t get the whole issue solved by any means,” Roma said. “Facebook refuses to acknowledge there is a problem with the policy. Now, we’re trying to get Facebook to realize there’s a problem with the way pages are reported and the way that those complaints are researched. There’s a whole community of people that are being targeted and being bullied.”
Facebook said they have decided to temporarily reactivate several hundred profiles that were recently deactivated in the LGBT community.
“This will give them a chance to decide how they’d like to represent themselves on Facebook,” Souvall said. “Over the next two weeks, we hope that they will decide to confirm their real name, change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a Page.”
Roma doesn’t think this is a solution.
“Basically they offered to give us our profiles back so that two weeks later they could suspend them, demand we comply to their unfair and discriminatory policy, and if not, take them away again,” Roma said. “This is completely unacceptable.”
Facebook and the activists will meet again to discuss the issue.
“We look forward to continuing the conversation with the LGBT community so that we can work to ensure they can continue to connect and engage on Facebook,” Souvall said.
Roma assured the community the fight hasn’t ended.
“Stay tuned,” Roma said. “This is not over!”