Facebook’s Name Policy Protested At San Francisco Gay Pride Parade

Since the news broke of the Supreme Court’s decision to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples, Facebook has been showing off their avid support of the LGBT community by featuring a tool that easily adds a rainbow filter to your profile picture.

But not everyone in the LGBT community is happy with Facebook. On Sunday’s San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, Facebook’s “authenticate name” policy was protested.

The protesters, wearing the hashtag #MyNameIs, marched with the Harvey Milk Group during the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. When they reached the judges, the protesters displayed signs that read “Shame on FB,” Business Insider reports.

Facebook’s policy means that you are prohibited from registering with anything but your legal name. The social network even requires you to authenticate your legal name if there is any doubt. If your name cannot be authenticated by Facebook, then you are locked out of using your account.

Facebook’s authenticate name policy is particularly humiliating for the transgender community. After an individual has recently gone through their transformation, Facebook makes it difficult them to assume their new gender-specific name. The only option under the current policy is for a transgendered individual to wait until they’re issued a new legal name.

#MyNameIs organizers appealed to the San Francisco Gay Pride board to ban Facebook’s participation in the 2015 parade, but narrowly lost by a vote of 5-4. Judging that the appeal was only one vote away from tying, the #MyNameIs movement obviously has significant support.

#MyNameIs Organizer Lil Miss Hot Mess articulated to Business Insider their grievances against Facebook.

“Given the harm that it’s doing to people, we don’t think Facebook deserves to march with our community. It’s nice to see that they want to publicly support the community but if they want to do that, they need to match it with their actions and not just showing up.”

Before the parade, Facebook was already getting attention over its naming policy due to a viral Medium post written by a transgendered former Facebook employee named Zip.

“Names are a tool for description, a shorthand for quickly communicating the idea of a person or thing. They change based on context. Each person has many names, because each person has many contexts and social groups. Like the government, Facebook tries to warp all of these contexts into one identifier. And like the government, it demands the final say in what you are called.”

Zip pointed out how the lines between our offline identify and Facebook profile have grown faint.

“By forcing us to change our names on the site, Facebook changes the names we are known by in real life — whether we like it or not.”

[Photo via Max Whittaker/Getty Images]