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'Show Up in Drag' Protest at Facebook HQ Postponed

Tuesday Sep 16, 2014

Put away your size 12 stilettos and protest signs...for now.

A planned "show up in drag" protest in front of Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park Tuesday, over the social media giant's recent decision to enforce its policy requiring users to use their given name in lieu of stage names or aliases, has been postponed due to an eleventh hour meeting between protest organizers and Facebook executives.

The move by the social media giant to enforce the "real name policy" has many in the LGBT community angered as they feel the rule disproportionately affects drag queens and transgender individuals. Leading the charge is Sister Roma of San Francisco's charity, protest and street performance organization the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who was automatically logged out of her account last week.

"I was automatically logged out and told my account was suspended because it appears that I'm not using my real name," Sister Roma told the Daily Dot. "I was instructed to log in and forced to change the name on my profile to my "legal name, like the one that appears on your drivers' license or credit card.'"

This lead Michael Williams (Sister Roma's legal name) to take to, where else? - Facebook.

"!!! PROTEST !!!
Tuesday, September 16
9:30am*: meet at the Castro Safeway to get on the bus or carpool!
... or join us at 11am at the Facebook HQ: 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA

** PLEASE COME IN DRAG! **

[...]
Facebook has recently been cracking down on drag queens, locking us out of our profiles until we change our names to our "real names." But Facebook is picking a fight with the wrong crowd: we know REALNESS isn't the name we were given at birth, it's the name we kiki with online and off! We invite EVERYONE to join us in a massive protest of this tired policy -- everyone has a right to control their identity online!"

However, on the eve of the planned cyber-Stonewall, the protest was postponed. An eleventh hour meeting between Sister Rosa and Facebook's David Campos, averted the planned drag demonstration.

"After a conversation today with Sister Roma and Supervisor David Campos, Facebook has agreed to meet with representatives from communities affected by their "real name" policy on Wednesday. This is an historic victory, and we've decided to *POSTPONE* our protest and give them a chance to proactively change their policy and ensure online safety and authenticity for everyone."

Siliconbeat points out that over the years, victims of sexual abuse, activists and others have raised concerns over the policy. A Change.org petition with more than 12,000 signatures accuses Facebook of forcing performers to use their real names and demands that the policy be changed.

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