Facebook apologizes to drag queens for “real name” policy


(Photo credit: BBC)

After a coaltion of drag queens, trans folks, and other community members protested Facebook’s requirement that they use their legal names on their profiles, Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, officially apologized yesterday.

“I want to apologise to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbours, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we’ve put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks.”

Cox noted that hundreds of drag queens’ profiles ended up being flagged as “fake names” after being reported by one individual, and promised Facebook would make it easier to authenticate those whose “real names” are not their legal names. He noted that “the spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life.” Citing two of the drag queens who lead the protest, he added: “For Sister Roma, that’s Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that’s Lil Miss Hot Mess.”

“It takes a lot to impress a drag queen, but I’m beyond thrilled that Facebook has offered a genuine apology and agreed that our real names are the ones we make for ourselves,” Lil Miss Hot Mess told the Guardian. “This is a huge victory not only for us queens, but also for the countless others we’ve met along the way whose names don’t always match their ID cards, but allow them to express themselves with less fear and more fabulousness.”

The protest planned for today will be a celebration instead.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation