Facebook agrees to meet with drag queens

Facebook officials have agreed to meet with local drag queens at San Francisco City Hall to discuss the social media website’s policy of people using their legal names on their accounts.

On Friday, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos called on Facebook to meet with the drag queens, who reported in recent weeks that they were locked out of their accounts under their stage names.

The drag queens said they could only regain access to their accounts if they listed their legal name, such as one on a driver’s license or credit card. Today Facebook accepted Campos’s invitation after a group of drag queens and supporters threatened to hold a protest Tuesday morning at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters.

Campos said in a statement Monday:

“I am glad that Facebook has accepted our invitation to engage in a meaningful public dialogue with the drag queens and members of the transgender community who have been affected by the profile name policy.”

Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence was one of many drag queens locked out of her Facebook account last week and entered her legal name “Michael Williams” in accordance with the website’s policy.

Whether or not in costume, Sister Roma said many people know her by her stage name, which she has used for the past 27 years. In a post on her Facebook account today she said the meeting is scheduled for Wednesday when she will join other drag queens to discuss the issue with representatives from the social networking site.

Roma and other local drag queens including Heklina, BeBe Sweetbriar and Lil Miss Hot Mess locked out of their accounts have used “#MyNameIs” to raise awareness on the social media’s website crackdown on their profile names.

Heklina said:

“We gave Facebook a chance to meet with us and I’m glad they took it. Having my profile suspended and my name questioned has been a very frustrating experience.”

In a statement issued last week, a Facebook spokesperson 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.”

The drag queens have said that listing their legal names on their profile puts them at risk of being found by family members, co-workers and others they may not want to share the content of their pages with.

As of Monday night, more than 15,000 people have signed a Change.org petition by Seattle drag queen Olivia LaGarce asking Facebook to allow performers to keep their stage names on their profiles. The online petition is available by visiting https://www.change.org/p/facebook-allow-performers-to-use-their-stage-names-on-their-facebook-accounts.