The same day that former Olympian Bruce Jenner made his world debut as “Caitlyn,” a group of drag queens from San Francisco–decked out in dresses, wigs and sparkling makeup–made their way to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park to protest against the tech giant’s rule requiring users to prove their true identities.
“Facebook’s policy is just the tip of the iceberg,” Lil Miss Hot Mess told the Contra Costa Times at Monday’s protest. “This is part of a bigger fight for our digital rights, for our rights to our privacy, to our safety and to express ourselves authentically online.”
Lil Miss Hot Mess was one of approximately 50 protesters that also included Native Americans and victims of domestic violence that called for Facebook to remove the option for users to report profiles that use a fake names. They also demanded the tech company to stop requiring users to verify their “real names”. Users are locked out of their accounts until they can prove their true identities.
“Hey, hey. Ho ho. Facebook’s policy got to go,” the protesters reportedly chanted. The hashtag #MyNameIs was created to document the event on social media.
— Heather Kelly (@kelly_heather) June 1, 2015
Some protesters referred to Facebook’s policy of verifying identity as being “malicious” and called it “targeted bullying”.
— Alexis C. Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) June 2, 2015
In October, Facebook apologized publicly to the LGBT community stating, that the site does not require a legal name. It has since implemented several additional avenues through which people can verify their identities.
On Monday, Facebook issued another message online: “People can be assured that they’re really connecting with their loved ones, and no one can hide behind an anonymous name to bully, taunt or say insensitive or inappropriate things.”
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz