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Facebook Refuses To Change Name Policy After Meeting with Drag Queens, Temporarily Restores Deleted Profiles

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After the social network begin enforcing its 'real names' policy, requiring that all users go by their legal name online, drag queens who found their accounts shut down were in an uproar and successfully set a meeting with Facebook to discuss the policy. That meeting, also attended by openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Rudy Campos, took place today and did not result in any change on Facebook's part. The AP reports:

Facebook said it will keep the accounts active for two weeks so people can decide whether to provide their real names.

Several drag queens and Supervisor David Campos said at a news conference at San Francisco City Hall that they are disappointed that Facebook didn't change its policy after the two sides met for about an hour Wednesday. Campos said Facebook has agreed to another meeting.

According to The Bay Area Reporter, Campos also added, "After an hour of discussion, we have yet to hear from Facebook they agree the policy is wrong.”

Meanwhile, Sister Roma, one of the most vocal drag queens who has been opposing Facebook's policy, said she was ready to mount a large-scale protest if necessary, saying, "We're always ready to go." For the drag queens and for Mr. Campos, Facebook's policy represents a real danger for many at risk minorities:

"They're claiming they're trying to create a safe environment," but [Roma] and others have heard from people who have escaped abusive spouses and "the only outlet they have is through Facebook."

[Heklina] said safety is a concern for her. "I have crazy family members" who she doesn't want to be able to find her. [...]

Advocates said that LGBT employees at Facebook have been pushing their cause, and Roma said, "There are people on both sides of this issue within the company.” [...]

"This issue is way bigger than a bunch of drag queens complaining because we can't use our stage names," Roma said in a news release. "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." 

(Photo via Twitter)


Jinkx Monsoon Serves Up A Side Of Saucy Glamour In Video For 'The Bacon Shake': WATCH

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Keeping with the edible themeDrag Race royal and extraordinary singer/actor Jinkx Monsoon has released a video for the second single off The Inevitable Album, "The Bacon Shake." Teaming up with the B-52's Fred Schneider, Ms. Monsoon looks sizzling and delicious as she transforms from nice to naughty in the vaudeville-inspired act. 

Jinkx spoke with Buzzfeed about the video:

“I really wanted the video to have an air of an old German cabaret club, or a naughty little gentleman’s club where this brassy broad is singing her heart out."

“The director, Steven Willis was totally on board with that treatment for this video, and we all unanimously agreed Fred Schneider HAD to be the bartender in this jazz joint..."

“I just hope it makes [the audience] happy and I hope it makes people wanna dance. It’s a catchy tune and I want people to tap their feet to it and sing along.”

Shake along, AFTER THE JUMP...

JinkxBacon

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Facebook Agrees To Meet With Drag Community Members Following 'Real Name' Controversy

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In response to a planned protest at their headquarters, representatives from Facebook have agreed to meet with Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and David Campos, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, about Facebook’s recent crackdown on the use of drag names.

Hundreds of drag queens found their public Facebook profiles deactivated last week after Facebook began to enforce its rules stating that all users must attach their birth names to personal pages. While members of the drag community were not explicitly targeted by the crackdown, drag queens seems to have been disproportionately affected given their tendency to embody their personae as public figures.

“I’ve had this name for 20 years now,” San Francisco-based performer Heklina explained to Tech Crunch “I walk down the street and people say ‘Hi Heklina.’ People know me by my drag name.”

Heklina claimed that every single drag performer that she knew in the Bay Area had been affected by Facebook’s enforcement of the policy, robbing them of the ability to keep their drag lives separate from their personal ones.

“This is like in the 1950’s when drag queens would perform at the club and then had to quickly change into their boy clothes after to keep from getting harassed,” she said, citing the many queens that were effectively forced to out themselves.

Initially Facebook responded by suggesting that drag performers attach their aliases to profiles featuring their actual names or create fan pages for their characters as an alternative. Fan pages, says Heklina, often don’t really capture what all it means to be a drag fixture in a local community.

“While many drag queens are 'out' about who they are, not all drag queens have that luxury," San Francisco Boardmember Scott Weiner wrote in a Facebook post. "Preventing drag queens from using the names that actually define who they are also puts a number of people in the untenable position of having to choose between telling the world that they’re drag queens and abandoning Facebook for their drag personas.”


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...

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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...

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