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Facebook: not a fan of drag names

Why is Facebook forcing drag queens to change their names?

The social network is suspending the accounts of drag performers if they don't use their legal names

Drag queens around the world are none too happy with Facebook after the social network staged a crackdown on users who go by alternative aliases. Performers who use their drag names on Facebook report that they have been locked out of their accounts and are only given access if they enter their legal male names into the database. 

San Francisco drag performer Miz Cracker found herself locked out of her profile while she was onstage. 

"I found out that my account had been suspended on Wednesday night, right in the middle of a show, when a fellow queen texted to ask 'Why is your Facebook profile gone?'" Miz Cracker told Slate. "Facebook was letting me know that I had a choice: I could either select a name they liked, or lose touch with the contacts, creative content, and memories that my name has earned me over the years."

Fellow drag queen and LGBT activist Sister Roma calls the enforced moniker shift is "unfair, hurtful, discriminatory and an invasion of privacy". She was forced to change her profile name to Michael Williams in order to regain entry into her account, even though she says that she does not identify with her old name at all. 

She has since created the hashtag #MyNameIsRoma in a defiant stand against the restrictions. 

"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," a spokesperson for Facebook told us. "As part of our overall standards, we ask that people who use Facebook provide their real name on their profile.”

According to Facebook, there is a practical reason for the move – by converting to "real names", it makes it easier to track those who spread malicious content online.

Still, it seems at odds with Facebook's decision earlier this year to add over 70 gender options in the profile edit section. As Sister Krissy points out on Twitter, what's the point in allowing a huge range of gender options if a user can't even choose a name that matches their gender identity?