The Facebook Name Debate and Having My Profile Deleted

I have to admit, there are times that I’m a little slow at putting two and two together. You see a few weeks ago I had to make myself a new Facebook account. You see, my previous account was shut down because I was apparently not using my real name. I was a little irked at this to say the least and when I followed instructions to try and get my account back I was asked to prove my identity with photographic ID.

Now, for a lot of people out there this wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but as a transgender person having ID that displays my correct name is something of a problem for me. Yes, I’ve got ID with my birth name on it, along with a photograph of a version of myself. But that’s not who I really am, and it’s certainly not who I am on Facebook. Presented with this problem I sent a message to the company to try and explain my position and asked very nicely for my account to be reactivated, yet heard nothing in response.

Skip to much later on and I’ve created a new account and had to go through trying to find all of my old friends and contacts. Then I’m reading through various news stories and come across an article about how Facebook is cracking down on stage names being used by the drag community and shutting down their accounts. I read through the story and thought that, yes, it was a bad situation but one that I was a little removed from. After all, I’m not a drag artist so it wouldn’t really affect me would it?

But then as time passed and I thought more about it I began to consider exactly what the new name change policy could mean to the LGBT community beyond drag performers. What would happen if Facebook turned their attention to those trans people who are in the middle of transitioning themselves and cannot comply with their new rules. Then I suddenly realised that maybe my experience was somehow connected.

Did Facebook shut down my account because I’m transgender?

Whilst most of the people that have been targeted by Facebook are in the drag community there are others in the LGBT community and beyond who have fallen victim to their harsh new policy. Well, I say new policy, the policy has always been there, but it has not always been so harshly enforced until recently.

Facebook has given what I’m sure to them is a perfectly reasonable statement on the situation siting ‘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. As part of our overall standards, we ask that people who use Facebook provide their real name on their profile.’

All well and good in a lot of situations I suppose, but what about those people like the drag community who feel that if their true identities were made public it could cause them to face serious dangers and possibly even physical harm in their everyday lives. Or what about the trans community, where people are moving from their given identity to their true one, who have found their real name and want to be known by it but do not yet have any form of ‘official’ ID.
On Wednesday members of the drag community met with Facebook officials in order to discuss the current sate of affairs on the site. One of the members in attendance, drag performer Sister Roma, reported that Facebook refuses to even acknowledge that there is an issue with the new policy. According to Roma Facebook even admitted that many of the accounts that were deactivated were targeted due to complaints made by other users.

Since the meeting Facebook has agreed to temporarily reinstate hundreds of profiles that were deleted due to complaints from other users, but only for a two week period so that the effected users can choose whether or not they’d like to use their legal names.

‘We’ve decided to temporarily reactivate the profiles of several hundred members of the LGBT community whose profiles were recently deactivated,’ Facebook spokesperson Andrew Souvall said in a recent statement. ‘This will give them a chance to decide how they’d like to represent themselves on Facebook. Over the next two weeks, we hope that they will decide to confirm their real name, change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a Page.’

When you think about it though is there any point in letting people have their profiles back for such a short period? Especially as if you want to keep them you’ll have to bow to Facebooks new rules?

I’ve already had one account deleted, possibly from other users complaining about me (yes, I’m looking at all you creepy ‘chasers’ who keep messaging me for sex chats and pics who I tell to fuck off), and could very well have this account suspended too. The thing is, Amy isn’t a fake name. It’s me. I won’t be forced into using a name that isn’t true to who I really am. Especially by a faceless organisation.

Due to my previous account being deleted, and in a small part to this article I’m sharing where I’m complaining about Facebook I’m kind of expecting that I’ll have my profile deleted again. The thing is, this new rule is wrong. Facebook shouldn’t be able to tell you what name you can and cannot use. Especially when nine times out of ten I go by Amy and not my ‘real’ name.

Hopefully Facebook will reverse its decision soon as I’m sure the LGBT community won’t let the issue go.

Additional reading:
Planet Transgender from 2011: ARE YOU A FACEBOOK TRANSGENDER NAME FAKER? Your account may be suspended too and Transgender Cleansing on Social Media Facebook and Google+ You may be next

Amy.
Xx

transgirlwriter.blogspot.co.uk

Amy is a journalist and editor contributing the websites Planet Transgender, Gay News Network, The Bottle Episode, The Retro Box and Claire Channel. Amy is also a published comic book writer and letterer.

In addition to her writing Amy has also worked with the Centre For Hate Crime Studies in Leicester and has worked in the capacity of an advisor to the United Nations Entity For Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Women.

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5 Responses to The Facebook Name Debate and Having My Profile Deleted

  1. Kelli Busey September 20, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    You don’t have to go far to find the rock that Bugs is hiding under. The Bug is a spitefull TROLL hiding somewhere near. >>>>flipping the rock over with my shoe>>>>

  2. Alexis September 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I know for a fact that Google + does not have a policy like this and have affirmed that they won’t. I quit FB for G+ a while back for a number of reasons, this would just seal the deal further for me.

  3. Lucía Pérez September 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Dear Facebook and Facebook Users:

    The following is a note I’ve written to all of you which I’ve publicized here on Facebook. Feel free to like, comment, and share as many times as you wish with whomever you wish, without feeling you’re intruding into my privacy or, creating any harm to me.

    I’m a trans woman identifying as both a transgender person and a person of the female sex. My current name as a trans woman and my current sex are legal under California law. I’m also a parent of two teenagers who go to public schools here in San Francisco.

    In the past, I had to unfriend my children from my Facebook profile due to their friends bullying them on Facebook AND at school. The bullying problem got so HORRIBLE that I had to unfriend them and stop taking them and picking them up from school.

    I had to enroll both of my children in other schools to stop this madness. I no longer go anywhere near around their schools to avoid the same situation from happening again. I no longer participate at their school activities or, be at teacher/parent meetings due to this problem.

    Due to all this transphobia, I had to create another profile on Facebook with my prior, legal, male name and use my old male pictures in my profile so that I could friend my children again. That is not who I am today, but yet, that is who I was yesterday. If I were in court with the CIA, the FBI, and the U.S. Supreme Court, none of them would deny that the person in that profile is ME!!

    If I had killed a human being prior to “transitioning” as a female, I would still be responsible for the murder of that human being. It’s not that we’re changing identities here; we’re simply developing into ourselves. We were once babies but, now we’re adults. But, we’re still the same human beings when we look at those babies in all of those pictures.

    I believe in enforcing the legality of identities on Facebook. I believe in protecting the privacy of Facebook users because of the damages incurred on my children. The police had a hard time identifying these children offenders who were saying and DOING terrible things to my children at school because they were all using fake identity profiles on Facebook. It’s difficult to track criminals and bring them to justice when they use untraceable profiles.

    The option of creating a Facebook page for an identity that’s not your real, legal, identity is a great idea, although I believe that any user who’s going to create a Facebook page must be required to create it with a private, legal identity in case the need arrives to trace and identify the creator of such page or, create it anonymously but, restricted from certain features that will allow to cause harm to others.

    I’ve always believed in creating law and order but, I’ve also always believed in freedom to be, and express ourselves in all our splendor so long as we’re not causing any harm in any form to any other human being. Unfortunately, too many human beings define freedom as freedom to disrespect law and order. I am not in support of human beings hurting other human beings or, even other animals. In nature, animals as well as human beings hurt ourselves in what I define as, “justifiable, natural reasons for doing so”. (Raise your hand if you’ve never hurt anyone’s feelings before). Thank you!

    It’s a bitch that many times all of us have to pay the price for the negligible acts of others. Look at what happened after 911. All because of one human beast and its allies. Many times in our history we’ve found ourselves in need to create law and order to control crime. We’ve not won the war on crime yet and, most probably we never will.

    In the meantime, we have to keep creating strategies to control it. And everytime we do, we gain and we lose. We gain the control but, we lose something in the process. But, what’s more important? Our freedom or, our safety? Perhaps, this is a matter of choice and another reason to debate.

    Personally, I would rather be safe than sorry. I’ve been sorry too many times in my life for not having given safety its due respect. I have learned my lesson to give safety its due respect and to create a balance between freedom, safety, and law and order to protect both my freedom and my safety as well as that of others.

    Freedom and safety tilt from one side to the other just like The Scales of Justice. I feel that creating a balance between both is a good personal strategy to control crime and protect other human beings and animals from beastly and savage human beings.

    Lucía Pérez Balladares

  4. Kelli Busey September 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm

  5. Pingback: Facebook apologizes after discovering that a single account reported hundreds of trans people. | Planet Transgender