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Facebook Begins Enforcing 'Real Name' Policy, Disproportionately Affecting GLBT Performers

My Name Is Roma

Facebook requires members to use their real names, a fact of which most folks are likely unaware due to the policy largely being unenforced, a decision quite possibly made due to the substantial blowback Google Plus received with their mandatory real name policy that they only recently rescinded. However, Facebook is now cracking down on their policy and the fallout is a disproportionate effect on LGBT individuals and drag performers in particular.

In a remarkably tone-deaf response in an interview with Business Insider, a Facebook representative said:

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.

Fan Pages and Musician/Group categories are how stars like Lady Gaga, Madonna, RuPaul, and will.i.am keep their obvious stage names. 

Sister Roma of the San Francisco chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is presently one of the more high-profile dissenters to the policy. When Roma, who now has to go by Michael Williams in order for his Facebook account to remain active, was told to create a Fan page he responded

I use this site to keep up with friends and simply don't want employers or crazy stalker people to log on and search me . I want my friends to find me...I detest the idea of having a fan page. I'm not fucking Britney Spears. I have friends, not fans.

Saying additionally:

Bottom Line: I've been Sister Roma for 27 years. Ask anyone what my name is, in or out of drag, and they will tell you it's Roma. #MyNameIsRoma

Which brings to the forefront something that Facebook may not be considering: safety. While no doubt some users adopt pseudonyms for the purposes of trolling or harassment, no small number adopt fake names to protect their privacy and safety, and when that privacy is broken it can lead to disastrous results as one particularly devastating incident on Google Plus revealed.

This mandatory outing could be especially destructive for LGBT youth who need the protection of anonymity to connect with friends and resources without subjecting themselves to the hatred of peers...or even their own family. Going to Sister Roma again, she posted a message she received from a friend when the name change went into effect:

Here is an example of the comments i have received regarding Facebook's legal name change policy:

"The name I was born with is the name of a victim, a lonely little boy who hated himself.

That is NOT who I am. 

#MyNameIsJayd"

Adding to all of the chaos and shady business, Roma went to reply to a message from Sister Unity and found that the entire thread had been censored, along with other conversations that had discussed Facebook's name change policy. 

Then there's the whole question of "How does Facebook enforce this?" Unlike Google Plus, users don't have to submit photographic proof of identity when they sign up, so it seems to be that enforcement his highly subjective and is going to target people with obvious stage names rather than people who are simply creating a fake profile with a real-sounding name. Enforcement is also very spotty; Roma and some Sisters have been forced to change their names, while other Sisters like Nancy Drew Blood and performers like Heklina have their drag names intact. 

A Change.org petition has been started to demand that Facebook allow performers of all types be allowed to use their stage names and is seeking 2,800 signatures. As of right now, Facebook hasn't commented any further on the issue.


Drag Personality Alaska Thunderf**k Jumps In The Ice Water Challenge: VIDEO

Alaska Thunderfuck Ice Bucket Challenge

Drag personality and former Drag Race contestant Alaska Thunderf**k is one of the latest to get wet for ALS awareness, and like a true drag queen she does it with personality and style. And yes, she really does get her hair wet.

You can see just how wet AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Drag Personality Alaska Thunderf**k Jumps In The Ice Water Challenge: VIDEO" »


Denver Gay Bar Found Guilty of Discriminating Against Drag Queen: VIDEO

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Back in November we posted about the Denver Wrangler, a gay 'Bear' bar in the Mile High City which was under fire for a transphobic gender matching ID policy in which a man named Vito Marzano was turned away from the bar when he showed up in drag.

MarzanoEarlier this week the Civil Rights Division at the state's Department of Regulatory Agencies ruled that the bar discriminated against Marzano and that the bar has a history of discriminating against women and effeminate men, the Denver Post reports:

An investigation by DORA's division of civil rights found the bar violated Vito Marzano's right to public accommodations on Aug. 31, 2013, when it turned him away because of his appearance, according to the document.

"The law is new and developing. I think you will see more cases that are consistent with this ruling," said Darold Killmer, a Denver-based civil rights lawyer. "I think this was a courageous decision, but a correct decision by the Civil Rights Division."

DORA is ordering The Wrangler, a high-profile uptown gay bar, to go through mediation with Marzano, according to the document obtained by The Denver Post on Monday.

Watch a news report from KGMH on the ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Denver Gay Bar Found Guilty of Discriminating Against Drag Queen: VIDEO" »


Florida Gay Resort Parliament House Faces Closure On 40th Anniversary: VIDEO

Parliament-house-party-0

Florida gay resort and entertainment complex Parliament House is facing closure, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Approaching its 40th anniversary, Parliament House filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week.

The property includes a 112-room hotel, seven bars, a swimming pool and an entertainment complex with dance floor and outdoor stage.

According to bankruptcy attorney Scott Shuker, the Orlando complex has been locked into a foreclosure and refinancing batter since it defaulted on loans during the recession in 2009.

Parliament House last went into receivership and faced foreclosure in 2010.

Watch drag queen Nina Flowers at Parliament House last May, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Florida Gay Resort Parliament House Faces Closure On 40th Anniversary: VIDEO" »


British Drag Queen Rapper Is ‘Bitch Most Fierce’ - VIDEO

Drag

Twenty-three year old musician, drag queen and rapper Monopoly Phonic has brought drag queen fabulosity and rap attitude together in his new song, “Bitch Most Fierce”:

[The] track [is] inspired by US rapper Rick Ross’s track “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)”. Where Ross compares himself to notorious gangsters Big Meech and Larry Hoover, Phonic compares himself to legendary drag queens like Rupaul, Lady Bunny, Divine, Dame Edna Everage and the casts of reality competition Rupaul’s Drag Race and the groundbreaking 90s documentary Paris Is Burning.

Watch Phonic sashay through the streets of Manchester, England as onlookers take in all the diva-ness, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "British Drag Queen Rapper Is ‘Bitch Most Fierce’ - VIDEO" »


Feast of Fun Hosts Launching New Web Series 'Cooking With Drag Queens'

Fausto Fernos and Marc Felion, the hosts of Feast of Fun, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring their on again/off again web series Cooking with Drag Queens back with a vengeance. Long before RuPaul’s Drag Race, the two podcast hosts made a career out of interviewing and introducing drag queens to their audience.

Photo-mainWhile Drag Race’s has undoubtedly popularized queen culture for a modern audience, the duo wants to give the public a chance to see the queens they’ve come to love in a less competitive setting. Like any cooking show worth its salt, Cooking With Drag Queens promises to be about personality as much as it is about food. Alaska Thunderf--k, Sharon Needles, and Pandora Boxx are among the drag queens to have appeared on on the web series so far, but Fernos and Felion want to expand their reach to give up and coming queens a chance to make a name for themselves.

Their Kickstarting goal of $12,000 will go towards hiring a full production crew, bringing the queens in town, and giving them all the food to work with. The team is still actively looking for drag testimonials from any and all queens interested in becoming a part of the project.

Check out the Cooking With Drag Queens trailer AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Feast of Fun Hosts Launching New Web Series 'Cooking With Drag Queens'" »


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