IMDb Lists Trans Celebrities Birth Names Without Consent

by Sam Cronin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday June 27, 2019

"Deadnaming," the act of "revealing a transgender person's birth name is criticized and considered extremely disrespectful by activists in the LGBTQ community," according to IndieWire. Recently, movie database IMDb has been drawing criticism from activists and trans celebrities for publishing stars' birth names and been accused of a form of deadnaming.

A group of Hollywood professionals and activists have lobbied to get the information removed, according to IndieWire and the New York Times. IMDb has apparently declined requests to remove the data from specific stars' accounts. IndieWire reported that an IMDb representative responded, saying:
"IMDb is committed to being the most comprehensive source of movie, TV and celebrity information. Our users trust that when they use IMDb, they are receiving comprehensive and accurate biographical information. IMDb strives to represent an individual's gender identity while also accurately reflecting cast and crew listings as they appear in a production's on-screen credits at the time of original release."

GLAAD has responded as well, and a representative, Nick Adams spoke to the Times on the topic, saying:
"To reveal a transgender person's birth name without their explicit permission is an invasion of privacy that only serves to undermine the trans person's true authentic identity, and can put them at risk for discrimination, even violence."

Trans actress Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) spoke on Twitter last year about her experience with suicidal thoughts and described deadnaming as a kind of "ultimate insult."

It remains to be seen how activists and celebrities' complaints and criticism will affect IMDb's policy, but for the time being, the company seems to be holding its position that it is just providing "comprehensive and accurate biographical information."

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