In case you haven't heard, there were two brutal murders of queer people of color this week (details below). The same week as Transgender Day of Remembrance. I can't really articulate my feelings, mostly, they are a mix of rage, overwhelm, sadness, grief, irritation and helplessness--a lot of crying while reading twitter. I also can't believe shit like this is still happening. Matthew Shepard was murdered over a decade ago. I remember those vigils, but for some reason these hit closer to home. Maybe it's because I have been out of the closet so much longer, maybe it is because more of my friends and lovers are gender nonconforming now. Maybe I am more wholly in my body and self so I feel entitled to express the rage in my heart when it happens instead of dissociating.
For background of this piece, read the piece I wrote two weeks ago about the de-activation without notice.
I wanted to tie up the loose ends about this because I don’t like leaving a story hanging and also I want folks who are not using their government name on Facebook to know my story and get prepared.
I thought long and hard about whether or not to engage with Facebook ever again. On principle, I don’t like that they require legal names or name authentication like this. But I have several friends who pointed out I’ve worked hard to get where I am and the body liberation work I do is best served by connecting with folks who I already know.
My connections are important to me and Facebook facilitates them very well. I know people from high school better than if we just occasionally have drinks. I can meet someone and still keep up on their artwork and their lives or whatever. Also, as a queer connector in the world it makes me feel good to help my friends moving to Providence meet my other friends in Providence (real life example). Also, I am a kind of “safe” ally to lots of different communities that my friends can come to for resources. Like a friend’s friend’s child just came out as genderqueer and my friend (who is not in the queer community) came to me for stuff her friend could read. That’s such an amazing thing to be able to do in the world! Improving the coming out process around someone’s gender by being a person with a reach beyond a specific type of community.
I have been off Facebook now for a couple of weeks. A few friends emailed or texted worried about not finding me there. I have missed some event announcements and life stuff for people but I kind of trust that people know how to get ahold of me if they need to. Plus, I trust the Universe/the Goddess and this happened for a reason and I just let it go as long as I needed to.
I was so worried that people thought I blocked them on Facebook! (This is a great reminder to always assume people’s best intentions!)
What I ended up submitting to Facebook on Monday night was a picture of my Driver’s License, which has my government name, birthdate and photo like Facebook asked for. I submitted two supporting documents showing my name as Bevin Branlandingham. One was the Curve Magazine article about me, which I think proves I’m a real person. The other were two pieces of mail. I get a lot of mail to Branlandingham, it’s almost always super awesome.
I also had a friend of a friend who worked at Facebook and a couple of other people on the inside, but I’m not sure if any of the connections folks offered helped my case or not.
Given what happened to me, folks should be prepared to give Facebook an ID at a moment’s notice. If I had some notice, I probably would have tried to get an alternate something (all of their requested documents are in the screenshots below: