Great Lakes Bootblack Marta Fights to Stay on Facebook

Great Lakes Bootblack 2014 Marta

Great Lakes Bootblack 2014 Marta

INDIANAPOLIS – Bootblack Marta’s facebook profile was reported and deactivated almost a month ago for violating their (extremely controversial) authentic name policy. Since then both Sister Roma and ‘Lil Miss Hot Mess have forwarded her messages repeatedly in an attempt to get her account reactivated. Facebook has refused to reactivate her account and recently closed her case completely. It has been said before, many times now, by people more articulate than myself, but Facebook’s name policy is problematic. There are many wonderful (and probably not so wonderful) things that can be said for social networking and its ability to connect us. This is especially significant when the others we want to connect with are other members of small, often marginalized communities. Drag queens and kings, burlesque performers, leatherfolk, queer identified-we are not the majority of the people we meet. The ease with which we can reach out strengthens our network, accelerates our education, increases our visibility and for many of us just helps us feel not so fucking alone while ensconced in a majority that does not always fully share our experiences or values.

This is her most recent letter to facebook. Share it if you can. This policy is something that we should continue to make noise about.

“Hi Flynt,

I am very disappointed that Facebook would close my case entirely before providing a personalized response to my inquiry into what exactly is wrong with the documentation I have provided previously. I have sent my registration badge from my regional contest with my name, photo and birthdate, and a piece of mail sent to me, at my address. It is impossible for me to provide further documentation when I have no idea why you have not accepted these.

I have been working within your standards in attempts to regain access to an account that connects me to close to 700 international LGBTQ friends, fellow leather community titleholders, networking contacts, and close chosen family for almost a month now, and have yet to receive any specific information about my case.

My account was reported over 4 weeks ago by an anonymous individual who, arbitrarily and free of consequence or accountability, cut me off from the entirety of my social support network. The ease with which bigoted people and trolls with time on their hands can isolate those of us with non-traditional sounding names is egregious, particularly given they do so under the auspices of “keeping the Facebook community safe” when I and we are in fact deeply invested in bettering our own communities.

But then, I trust and hope that this is an issue you’re already familiar with? Just as Sister Roma, ‘Lil Miss Hot Mess, and countless other drag queens and burlesquers have performer names and established connections with those who know them by those names, my account uses my name as a queer leather community titleholder, volunteer and educator, and it is how everyone knows me.

Those queens, Sister Roma and ‘Lil Miss Hot Mess, have been serving as approved liaisons, forwarding accounts like mine directly to Facebook to be reactivated.

One of my counterparts, the current International Ms Leather, Patty, had her account suspended, but with the assistance of Sister Roma and after two weeks of waiting was allowed back into her account. She did have to change her name from Patty Imsl to Patty Patty… but she did not have to submit ID.

Both Sister Roma and ‘Lil Miss Hot Mess have contacted you at Facebook a total of SIX TIMES now on my behalf. 27 DAYS have passed.
Please tell me why you have not followed through on the agreement that you have with them in my case?
What more can I do to remedy this situation?
I am at a loss – saddened, frustrated, angry, and disappointed in this entire process, which, according to Facebook itself in countless media reports since last October, is completely and utterly unnecessary.
Quoting Christopher Cox in a Reuters article dated October 2nd, 2014, “The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name that they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that’s Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that’s Lil Miss Hot Mess”. Why is my case any different? For me, Bootblack Marta IS my authentic name.

Just, please, let me back into my account to connect with my people.
Thank you.

Bootblack Marta
Great Lakes Bootblack 2014
Indiana Bootblack 2014″

Submitted by Andi Futch