Aug 042011
 

For those of you who are unaware, one of the MANY issues with Google+ (in addition to having the big “male/female/other” requirement, and being SUPER hostile to adult content, including links to adult content marked NSFW) is that they are requiring you to use your legal name. If it is found that you are not using your legal name, your account can be deleted. If your Google+ account is deleted, that includes the Gmail account to which it is attached, which at least for me, would delete over 6 years of emails, files, etc and would really suck.

Why is this such an issue? Well, let’s start.

*Many trans folks have not had a legal name change (some states have VERY stringent requirements involving hormones, surgery, doctor’s letters, etc) based on their circumstances, whether it is a transition thing, a medical thing, a family/rights thing, a money/cost thing, etc. Requiring them to use their legal name rather than their real name is forcing them to out themselves. This can be dangerous.

*Adult stars and sex workers usually don’t use their legal names for a myriad of reasons. Requiring them to do so not only outs them, but puts them in danger from stalkers, being outed to their family, etc, not to mention legal repercussions if it is sex work that can be prosecuted (and keep in mind, not all sex work is illegal).

*Women often use different names online to keep themselves and families safe. Perhaps they’ve gotten out of an abusive relationship, or perhaps they have a more unique name, and don’t ant every asshole on a social network googling their home address.

*Lots of sex educators work under other names.  I did when I started out. Why? Because even now, my partner and I worry about people showing up on my door step. I get harassing phone calls sometimes. Luckily, most of my family is supportive, but not everyone has that privilege. Many great sexuality educators work under not their legal name; Midori, Ayden Fire, Sir Top and slave bonnie, Madison Young, etc. There are many others, but I don’t want to out them as not using their legal names.

*Most sex bloggers (and bloggers in general) blog under other names. Why? Safety; not just the physical danger issue, but losing their jobs, custody of their kids, their partners, and more. Has this happened when they’ve been outed? Absolutely.

*Many people just don’t go by their legal names. If your name is Katherine and you go by Katie, could Google+ delete you? Possibly. What about if you go by your middle name instead of your first name? Or you use your partner’s last name, but haven’t legally changed it?

The list goes on and on and on. Folks with disabilities. Celebrities (local, national and international). Whistleblowers. Authors. Gamers. There are so many incredible reasons someone would choose not to use their LEGAL name on a social media site, or on the internet in general, so how dare we force them to do so, at risk of losing their gmail and other google centric accounts if google deems their name not real?  Luckily, a group is creating a site with real people sharing their stories about why they choose not to use their legal name (you can use any name you want to post on the site), and they are looking for submissions. If you’re a person who would be affected by using your legal name online, or part of a group for whom you can speak, they’d love to hear from you. Their info is below.

Thank you for your help and understand on this issue, and sharing it with others so that they can understand why in fact this is a pretty big deal,

Shanna

From http://my.nameis.me/make-a-statement/:

Make a statement

We’re looking for more people to write for us about why they support the freedom to choose your own name online.

While we appreciate that thousands upon thousands of people worldwide feel strongly about this issue, the most valuable statements come from those who are famous or prominent in their fields, or those who can speak on behalf of populations who need to choose their own names.

So, we’re particularly looking for individuals like:

  • Performance artists (musicians, actors, etc), especially those who use stage names
  • Authors, journalists and other writers, especially those who use pen names
  • Politicians and prominent political activists
  • Sex educators and sex workers
  • Religious leaders
  • … and any other notable or famous person who supports people’s freedom to choose their own name online.

Or people who represent organisations like:

  • Domestic violence support groups
  • LGBT advocacy groups
  • Civil rights groups
  • Groups working with children at risk
  • Disability advocacy groups
  • … and any other organization working with people who commonly want the freedom to choose their own name online

If you fit the above descriptions, or can introduce us to someone who does, please get in touch with us!