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Drag Queens revive protest over Facebook’s real name policy

Drag Queens revive protest over Facebook’s real name policy

A group of drag queens and members of the LGBTI community have reignited the protest over Facebook’s ‘real name policy’ months after a public apology.

An online petition has been started by user Lil Miss Hot Mess, asking the organizers of San Francisco Pride and New York Pride to ban Facebook from participating in the events; as of today, roughly 1800 people have signed the petition.

On 1 June they are also planning to hold a protest outside Facebook’s headquarters.

Last September, the #MyNameIs campaign drew attention to the website’s policy and what it means for drag queens and the LGBTI community if they are only able to use their legal names.

‘In the eight months since this debacle began, it has become clear that Facebook’s apology was empty and their promise to make any real change to their policy was a lie,’ the petition statement reads.

‘To this day the malicious reporting against our community continues as thousands of LGBT users are locked out of their accounts, lose access to their photos, news feeds, and are cut off from their social network.‘

Sister Roma, a San Francisco drag queen, told San Jose Mercury News some people were still being bullied online, with users reporting them to Facebook for not using an ‘authentic identity’, which sees users locked out of their accounts.

‘We’ve met with Facebook four times, and we kept trying to stress to them the importance of identity and that their real name policy is being used to discriminate and bully our community,’ she said.

‘When you can report a profile as using a fake name, anybody can be one click away from being suspended.’

Facebook have previously said in a statement: ‘We are committed to ensuring that all members of the Facebook community can use the names that they use in real life.’

‘Having people use their authentic names makes them more accountable, and also helps us root out accounts created for malicious purposes, like harassment, fraud, impersonation and hate speech.’

Facebook also states users do not need a government ID to prove their identity; phone bills, magazine subscriptions or yearbook pictures are accepted.

‘What we’ve been saying until we’re blue in the face to Facebook is there are many people, especially LGBT and in the transgender community specifically, who don’t have a piece of paper or a government issued ID that proves authentic identity,‘ Roma said.