Music Artist. Real name
Heklina at Trannyshack LA
Recently, Facebook started a merciless crackdown on users who don't use their real names on their personal profiles.
As a result, numerous drag queens and musicians have had their pages taken down.
Though they've fought back, it doesn't look like Facebook is going to budge. So now in solidarity, the creative community and performers from across the spectrum have taken up the cause, with some announcing plans to quit Facebook altogether. It could be the beginning of an exodus.
Cross-dressing performers, of course, tend to have colorful, obviously-fake stage names. They often have fan pages, but tend to use their drag names on their personal profiles as well.
Last week, a number of them from San Francisco (including Heklina, Sister Roma, BeBe SweetBriar, and Lil Miss Hot Mess) met with Facebook at its Menlo Park headquarters. Facebook agreed to give them a two-week grace period to switch over to their real names, or have their profiles removed for good.
This wasn't much of a concession, says Steven “Heklina” Grygelko, best known for SF and L.A. club Trannyshack. “They trotted out their gay and transgendered employees who said they understood our feelings but that they had this policy for a reason and they weren’t going to capitulate, ” he said. “They claim it has to do with stalkers. They don’t want stalkers to hide behind fake names. But their policy is so flawed.”
No one wants to be stalked by someone using a fake profile, but choosing a pseudonym in itself can be a way of avoiding stalking and harassment. From gay bashers to ex-lovers to family members who don’t understand certain lifestyles, there are countless reasons not to use one's real name.
And it's not just drag queens or people trying to hide: Countless DJs, musicians, and artists make their livings off their personas, personas they create and market by a chosen moniker for a reason.
DJ and radio host Howie Pyro, who’s played with Johnny Thunders, Danzig and D Generation, was locked out of his account recently and says he felt violated, “I’ve been using this name for over three decades. My mother calls me Howie Pyro, " he says. “I’ve had this page for several years. I’ve made contacts on it, shared things on it that are only there and I promote myself and get jobs from it."