The resolution is clear as mud at this point. We received this information from the group organizing the protest which was originally set to happen Tuesday September 16 at 11AM at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park.
On Monday morning Facebook accepted an invitation extended by members of the San Francisco drag community and Supervisor David Campos to hold a public meeting regarding the company’s real name policy.
San Francisco drag queens including Sister Roma, Heklina, BeBe Sweetbriar and Lil Miss Hot Mess have recently launched the hashtag #MyNameIs to protest the crackdown on profile names. The group had previously threatened a Tuesday morning protest at Facebook headquarters unless the company accepted an invitation to meet with the drag and transgender community.
In recent weeks drag performers have had their Facebook accounts suspended due to a policy requiring them to use their “legal name” in their profile. They assert that they should have the right to determine their own online identities. Many drag queens and members of the transgender community have also expressed concern that not allowing them to use their chosen name is a safety issue as it outs their real names and information.
Supervisor Campos, who extended the invitation to Facebook on Friday says “I am glad that Facebook has accepted our invitation to engage in a meaningful public dialogue with the drag queens and members of the transgender community who have been affected by the profile name policy. We know that many Facebook employees live in San Francisco and enjoy the contributions to nightlife that Heklina, Sister Roma and others have made. This will be a great opportunity for Facebook to constructively engage with its neighbors”
Sister Roma, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, says “This issue is way bigger than a bunch of drag queens complaining because we can’t use our stage names. This policy is discriminatory and potentially dangerous to a variety of Facebook users including abused and battered women, bullied teens, political activists, sex workers, and especially members of the transgender community; all examples of people who use pseudonyms to ensure their safety and privacy. I am glad that Facebook is willing to meet with us to address our very real concerns.”
Heklina, founder of the legendary Trannyshack party stated “We gave Facebook a chance to meet with us and I am glad that they took it. Having my profile suspended and my name questioned has been a very frustrating experience. I’m looking forward to working with them to change this policy.”
**The latest was posted to the event page of the protest.
After a conversation today with Sister Roma and Supervisor David Campos, Facebook has agreed to meet with representatives from communities affected by their “real name” policy on Wednesday. This is an historic victory, and we’ve decided to *POSTPONE* our protest and give them a chance to proactively change their policy and ensure online safety and authenticity for everyone.
BUT, that doesn’t mean this is over! Please keep spreading the word and building the buzz in three ways:
1. Keep sharing on social media! Use the hashtag #MyNameIs across all platforms, and we’ll be releasing graphics for profile pictures and whatnot soon.
2. Looking to chat in person? Come to the Harvey Milk Club’s meeting tomorrow, Tuesday 9/16 at the Women’s Building. We’ll have an open forum from 8pm-9pm on the message we want to deliver to Facebook.
3. Share this update and stay tuned for more! We don’t know how this will go — we may need to ride the bus to Menlo Park after all!
We’ll keep a close eye on the situation and keep everyone informed, follow our blog for the latest on this and all drag issues. Be sure to support your local drag queens as they are all subject to this horrible discrimination.