You might have noticed that Facebook has looked a little different lately. That different look has affected slave Angie and I personally. What am I talking about? People who had creative names to keep themselves somewhat anonymous suddenly are using their real names, and there’s a reason why.
Facebook’s “Name policy” is being used by people with agendas against the LGBTQ communities and kink communities to force folks either further underground (by leaving Facebook) or to use their real names. They do this by reporting the profile as a “fake name” and Facebook pretty much automatically shuts the profile down. Even people with real names are being forced to present IDs to Facebook to keep their names. This has also affected indigenous names, people who might be subject to stalking and/or abusive behavior, trans folks and even drag queens. There was a public brouhaha with a few drag queens and Facebook late last year, where Facebook apologized and said they would “improve” the process.
If by improve, they meant “get more efficient at removal” then they’ve lived up to it, because I’m seeing an increase in the tempo of name changes and profile losses. Most recently, “Bootblack Marta”, a woman known as that — that is her authentic identity, was offline for almost a month, and took some serious heavy lifting from media and folks (including the drag queens in the original issue back in October) before her name was restored. It looks like that whoever or whomever is doing the reporting has moved into the leather and kink world. They do this by going to the friends lists of people, reporting them, then going to their friends lists, reporting them, and so on.
With the changes going on around me, with people in my close friends lists, I decided to grab the bull by the horns. Slave Angie and I changed our Facebook profiles to our real names. With our title year, and with our active profile in the kink community, we are already practically out. We’ve taken steps to limit ourselves from intrusive family, but for the rest of the world, it doesn’t get much more open unless we made videos and were on TV.
And then, this morning, a friend request came in from a co-worker. *sigh* I knew the day would come, but there was a mixture of fear, apprehension and resignation. At least the person who has friended me is somewhat open-minded, but I know that eventually, that might not happen. I declined the invite, because I’m not going to mix work with my personal life.
I’m willing to stand up and say “I’m not ashamed of who I am, not one little bit” and to say that my personal life is my own, but I will admit that I have fears and worries. So much responsibility for our family rides on my shoulders, and this is not a choice made lightly… but I can’t live in fear. I can’t live hiding. I will stand up, even with knocking knees, because that is what is right. It’s my personal life, not my professional life, and I will fight for that right to be who I am.