Last October, Facebook apologized to the LGBT community for the way it was enforcing its “real name” policy in a way that unfairly opened people like drag performers and transgender individuals — those whose everyday name might not match their legal name — to abuse. Any user could file a complaint that such a profile was “fake” and Facebook would give the benefit of doubt to the complainant, not the targeted user. Months later, transgender people continue to have the same problem.
Last week, a former Facebook employee who identifies as “Zip” explained how she was the latest victim. She not only worked at Facebook, but she initiated the feature that allows users to select from a wide variety of gender identity options. Like the complex ways people might identify their gender, Zip pointed out that “Names aren’t that simple and the reasons people use names are also not that simple.”