Just a few days ago I wrote about the problems Drag Queens, artists and many other people are having with Facebook because they are being forced to use their real name and can’t use their stage name, nickname or in our case, avatar name.
Of course this wasn’t news but I mentioned it because I felt that we now shared a goal with a group of people who’s voice might get more attention than that of us Second Life avatars.
Their uproar has exploded across social media, hashtags galore (#mynameis) and when a group of them started planning a demonstration outside the Facebook HQ (imagine how fabulous that would have looked) Facebook Supervisor David Campos got on the phone with them and promised to meet with Sister Roma (the lady behind most of the ruckus) in person.
So of course, cynical me has to say that this doesn’t mean anything.
But publicity means a lot in this game and getting them to talk about it and perhaps think a bit harder about a proper solution, is a step in the right direction.
Of course our virtual identity means a lot to us in Second Life but when you look at the long list of people to whom it is so much more important to be able to use Facebook under a different name, it becomes more and more wrong that they are not allowed to.
And even if I was not in Second Life, I’d still want to support this thing.
As Sister Roma said;
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”?!
So bravo Sister Roma and lets hope that what all these people are trying to achieve eventually will benefit us avatars as well.
Thank you Herr von Rosenheim for the tipoff!
Vanessa Anne Blaylock said:
This is sort of great news… but… call my cynical… I don’t think Facebook will address the widest issue and stop the “Real Names Policy” (as, ironically, Google+ recently did)
I think they’ll hack out some sort of “significant” or “known” Drag Queens, similar to the way they handle “Celebrities” now, and will still continue to hunt and execute ordinary pseudonymous users in the same imprecise, oppressive way they always have.
(call me “Rainbow Sunshine!” 🙂
Sonatta Morales said:
Facebook has some creepy reasons to reinforce their “true identity” policy. Very creepy.