BREAKING: Facebook Agrees To Meet With Drag Queens And Others To Address “Legal Name” Debacle

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 1.15.55 PMLast week amidst a sea of disappointing Buzzfeed videos, baby photos and unsolicited opinions that have come to define the Facebook experience, a quiet storm was brewing. A Sister of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco, Sister Roma, shared her experience of being forced to change her name to the subjectively more “accurate” one of Michael Williams.

Drag queens, performers and others who choose to identify with a name that isn’t found on any birth certificate quickly jumped on board with Roma’s complaints, sharing similar experiences. Queerty was first to report on the backlash, and the story blew up over night.

Facebook broke a cardinal rule: Don’t mess with drag queens. They will fight back relentlessly and will look fantastic doing so.

As momentum grew, Sister Roma planned a protest at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, CA. The event description (on Facebook, naturally), reads in part:

This issue affects a lot of marginalized, creative, and professional communities, including transgender people, bullied youth, activists, LGBTQ people who aren’t out everywhere, survivors of domestic violence and stalking, migrants, sex workers, artists who work under pseudonyms, and various professionals who work in sensitive professions (eg. mental health, criminal justice, etc.) who may want to interact with friends without being found by clients. Facebook claims that its “real name” policy helps protect people from bullying, but this is a form of targeting our communities that can actually make us much less safe. Facebook is today’s public forum and they can’t exclude us — who are they to say we or anyone else isn’t “real”?!

Well wouldn’t you know it, the last thing Facebook wants are viral videos of drag queens with protest signs outside their headquarters hitting social media and the national news.

Here is the promising update from Williams Roma:

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We’ll keep you updated as the story develops.