[quote]Fuck you Facebook! If you weren’t so important as a marketing tool I would quit you. You made me change my name. The “Grygelko” part is my real last name……[/quote]
San Francisco drag queen Heklina, who most people only know by her drag name, shared the above message on Facebook yesterday after being forced by the social network to change her name to reflect her legal last name. This same anger and resentment seems to be the mutual feeling among performers who have been forced to update their profile names to avoid being banned from Facebook altogether.
The decision, which is part of Facebook’s effort to “keep our community safe,” is being enforced as part of a crackdown on their user guidelines. According to these guidelines, if your legal name is ‘Robert’ and you go by the name ‘Bob’ then you are required to use Robert as your profile name. If you want to use the name Bob, then you can make it your nickname…. If you use a pseudonym or nickname on Facebook, we highly recommend that you should start preparing to be targeted next.
This crackdown seems to be heavily targeting drag queen performers, which is ironic seeing as Facebook just announced in February that they were rolling out a customization option with about 50 different words for people to use to identify their gender. Most people seem bewildered by this sudden “attack,” which is exactly what it feels like.
Facebook’s solution? Create a fan page if you want to use a pseudonym. Well, Facebook, Sister Roma has started her own hashtag campaign, #MyNameIsRoma, in protest and has a few words to say about this…
[quote]I’m not fucking Britney Spears. I have friends, not fans.[/quote]
-> Join our conversation on Facebook to discuss this issue. <-
The SFist has figured out that there is one way around being forced to change your name: “One workaround that Facebook will accept appears to be registering a DBA, or “Doing Business As” name with the Small Business Administration, so that may help.”
There’s also a petition on Change.org that has been started which asks Facebook to allow performers to use their stage names on their accounts. The petition, which is seeking to get 2,500 signatures, is about 300 people away from reaching its goal (at the time of this writing).
Aside from these two options, there doesn’t seem like there’s much else we can do at this time to change the reality of this situation. Unfortunately, as Heklina said in her status, quitting Facebook has become almost impossible because doing so would mean giving up what may be the best marketing tool for drag queen performers. In protest, we recommend that you ask anybody you know who is spending advertising dollars on Facebook to pause their campaigns until this issue is resolved.
— Sister Roma (@SisterRoma) September 11, 2014
Here is an unofficial list we have compiled so far of Drag Performers who have been required by Facebook to change their names or who have lost access to their accounts. Please post in our Facebook Drag News Discussion Group if you know of any others to add to the list.
James Majesty St. James
Cherry Sur Bete
Olivia La Garce
Supernova Majesty Michaels
Bob the Drag Queen
Vivacious (the first RuPaul girl to be effected, we believe)