Create your balance. Design your life.

The Day Facebook Made Me Change My Name

It seems like it started with Sister Roma,  a member of the performing drag troupe Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. She went online only to find out she had been locked out of her account. This happened to several other performers as well. Facebook sent each of them a notice stating per their name policy that they would need to change the name on their account to their given birth name and if they wanted a page with just their stage name they would need to make a fan page. Anyone who knows Facebook knows a fan page doesn’t give you the options to stay connected the way and regular profile page does. The second option offered was that a stage name can be used as an alias on the page and it will show up for people seeking them out.

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Shortly after this no less than 100 performers found their pages gone altogether. Those pages have been put back up since then and Facebook has granted a 2 week grace period for performers to make the proper adjustments to their profiles. Needless to say this has caused an outrage in the drag and LGBT community. The biggest question was “Why are only Drag Queens being targeted at this time?”

A group of entertainers did meet with Facebook to discuss this issue. Facebook is sticking with it’s decision saying that the terms of use are set in stone. This has so many female impersonators upset for many reasons. The performer may be transgender and only identify with her stage name. In the case of many performers this is the only name that people may know them by. Say you are friends with Kitty Fontaine and she changes to her legal name Phillip Jarvis (If you are Kitty Fonataine or Phillip Jarvis I apologize, I made both names up off the top of my head). Is this going to cause some confusion when you see a post from her or receive an invite to an event? It would confuse me because the alias does not show up in your feed and would leave me wondering who the hell this person is.

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Another reason performers use their stage name may be for more private reasons, including but not limited to his or her personal protection. Examples of this: their family has no idea what they do for a living and this could damage the familial relationship. Others may have a regular day job and be worried that a boss might find them out and fire them because drag might reflect badly on the company. It could be to protect themselves from people that might cause them harm. They may have escaped from someone who would like to hurt them. As a performer it could also be that they would like to keep their private life exactly that… private. If you go to a club to see a show you only get the performers stage name not a birth name. Not to put to fine a point on this,  there are people out there who will stalk performers and if your real name is out there for the world to see, you are a lot easier to find in the real world. There are also those out there who because of their beliefs, may hunt down an entertainer a cause bodily harm in a hate crime (yes this does happen and drag queens are sometimes the target)

So all entertainers have the grace period to comply or lose their accounts. For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook policy here it is as follows:

Facebook is a community where people use their real identities. We require everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you’re connecting with. This helps keep our community safe.

Names can’t include:

  • Symbols, numbers, unusual capitalization, repeating characters or punctuation
  • Characters from multiple languages
  • Titles of any kind (ex: professional, religious)
  • Words, phrases or nicknames in place of a middle name
  • Offensive or suggestive words of any kind

Other things to keep in mind:

  • The name you use should be your real name as it would be listed on your credit card, driver’s license or student ID
  • Nicknames can be used as a first or middle name if they’re a variation of your real first or last name (like Bob instead of Robert)
  • You can also list another name on your account (ex: maiden name, nickname or professional name) by adding an alternate name to your profile
  • Profiles are for individual use only
  • Pretending to be anything or anyone isn’t allowed

If your real name isn’t listed on your account, please change it now. If you’re unable to change it, learn more.

Facebook has made it clear that drag queens will use their birth names and can use their stage name as an alias or they can make a fan page…period. It is that or the entertainer will lose their page. This brings me to something I want to share with all of you.

You have been reading my columns for over a year now and have known me as Alexandra Elaine Michaels. I have a confession to make to all of you. This is not my birth name. I use this name for stage and writing and now it is time to out myself here.  I am one of the people being affected by this name change on Facebook. My birth name is Walter.  As a child I was very gender confused and it took years to work itself out. Now I have a perfect balance with Walter and Alexandra that is comfortable for me. I am going to change my name on the Alexandra profile on Facebook although I don’t want to and it may cause some confusion because their are people on my friend list that have only known me as Alexandra for 20 plus years and have no idea who Walter is. At the moment it is what it is and Facebook is very clear in their policy. I will continue to write and entertain as Alexandra like nothing has happened. My hand may be forced in this decision and no matter how it all plays out, nobody is going to keep this bitch down.

The Two Faces of Alexandra

Walter

Walter

Alexandra

Alexandra

7 comments

  1. You are inspiring, no matter which face you are putting forth! Thank you for always being real.

  2. Thank you Jennette. That means the world to me! xoxo

  3. Love you lady!!! *hugs*

  4. Shared on Twitter also, love! Love you no matter who you are!

  5. I have been privileged to know you as both, and I love you as both. You are simply wonderful.

  6. You go girl!

  7. Thank you one and all. I love you. xoxo

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