Saudi Arabian transgender woman Leena, newest victim of Facebook’s Name Policy

saudi woman passport
If you are outed: Prison sentences of several months to life, fines and/or whipping/flogging, castration, torture, vigilante execution, or death can be sentenced on first conviction. A second conviction merits execution. Wiki

Facebook’s vow not to out transgender people is meaningless in Saudi Arabia.

Just weeks ago Facebook Products SEO Chris Cox apologized for the company’s procedures which led to the suspension of many transgender people’s accounts.  But to many including our journalist in the UK his promises have meant little as her account is still shackled.

Today I was contacted by transgender woman Denise Norris, Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) board member, who offered this statement and put me in contact with *Leena (name changed)

“As her mentor I’m outraged that while this issue was settled for Americans, FB continues to discriminate against gender non-conforming people globally through enforcement of their Real Names policy.


It seems the Facebook’s name policy enforcement is subjective, a fact we in the trans community are well aware of. But we thought it was getting better. Perhaps not. Not for everyone anyways. It depends on where you live and how vulnerable you are.

Facebook Authentic identies
From the Facebook terms of service. The  “authentic” identies requirment leaves them a lot of wiggle room.

Leena’s Facebook problem began when she decided to use her authentic name as she began transition.

“They closed my account, claiming it is ‘ hacked’ after I changed the name, gender and blocked my family from it. I thought this will protect my account from being deleted like the others as this account is from 2009 MY first account on FB
I gave them my passport, as they wanted and sent this…

1 Saudi lock out. 3 passport  PNG

She waited for 40 hours and this was their reply:

facebook reply

Leena’s plea fell on deaf ears…this is life or death…

1 saudi lock out lenna replay redacted

I’m calling out to our drag community in San Fransisco to again come to the rescue. We, meaning the rest of your community can’t do this on our own. Goddess knows we have tried.  You saved, at least for now, most of north America from Facebook’s subjective rule enforcement. Will you now do the same for our sister in Saudi Arabia? Please?

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender



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