September 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
Local queens on Facebook name flap
Facebook name, gay news, Washington Blade

From left, Birdie LaCage, Heidi Glum and BaNaka (Washington Blade photo of LaCage by Blake Bergen; Blade photos of Glum and Ba’Naka by Michael Key)

Despite meeting with drag queens in San Francisco last week, Facebook is still declining to change its policy of requiring people use their real names on the site. The company has been deleting accounts with fake names after investigating user complaints, as many news agencies have reported.

Although having or starting fan pages is a viable alternative, many queens who have long-established profiles under their drag names and fans accustomed to getting performance information that way, the sudden enforcement is a hardship, some say.

Opinions vary among local queens.

“This witch hunt for drag queens is really ridiculous,” says Dustin Michael Schaad, who performs full-time as Ba’Naka, a multiple winner of Blade Best of Gay D.C. awards and a Town headliner. “There are much bigger fish to fry. Why are they not looking into some of the bullying reports they’ve had and targeting those accounts? I don’t get the need to target drag queens specifically.”

Miles DeNiro, also a former Blade winner as Heidi Glum, says the policy has more serious ramifications for others and says it’s not a big deal for drag queens.

“I don’t live full time as Heidi,” he says. “I’ve always done mine with my name, then Heidi in parenthesis. … I’ve been getting work out of state, other places. I actually feel more sorry for my trans people but for a drag queen, it’s preposterous. I have my own fan page and Miles is my Facebook profile so I just tag my fan page and cross promote that way and it’s never been a problem.”

Collin Ranney, who performs locally as Birdie LaCage, has heard that argument but doesn’t buy it.

“My question is why should I have to (create a fan page instead of a profile)?,” he says. “It’s a different type of interaction. If I’m allowed to portray myself the way I want within the real wordl, why can’t in the cyber world. I don’t see Instagram or Twitter or Tumblr or even Grindr for that matter forcing me to do so,” he wrote in an e-mail. “This new policy does not only affect drag queens, it affects DJs, entertainers, some celebrities and anyone else who prefers to keep their personal life and their public life separate.”

 

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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