Drag Queens And Transgender Performers Criticize Facebook Over Its Real-Name Policy

A group of drag queens and transgender performers launched a petition to persuade Facebook to change its policy about using real names on accounts, BBC reported.

The petition, which was created by Seattle-based performer Olivia La Grace, was started after several performers were locked out of their accounts for violating the social networking site's real-name 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 read.

"We build networks, community, and the audience under the names we have chosen, and forcing us to switch our names after years of operating under them has caused nothing but confusion and pain," it continued.

For Cherry Sur Bete, a performer and supporter of the move, using stage names in their Facebook accounts ensure the protection of his colleagues, according to HNGN.

"This isn't just a matter for nightlife performers, this is a matter for actors and musicians, as well as folks who have chosen a different name simply to avoid potential stalkers," he said.

"Mental health professionals and victims of abuse frequently use a nickname to avoid problematic interactions," he added. "Facebook now effectively hands them over to those potential problems."

The networking site, however, refused to yield even though the petition has collected over 2,000 signatures.

A spokesperson for Facebook explained that the policy is a way for the site to discourage users from posting abusive comments. The representative added that those who wish to use other names can do so through other methods, The Guardian reported.

"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," the spokesperson said.

"As part of our overall standards, we ask that people who use Facebook provide their real name on their profile," the representative added. 

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