IMDeadnaming: LGBTQ+ Advocacy Groups Fights for Privacy

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LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are requesting the immediate halt of the birthname publication of trans-actor/actresses on IMDb. This practice is known as “deadnaming” which is the usage of a given name of someone who has changed it. Some groups supporting this stance are Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Transgender Law Center, and the Transcend Legal, Inc.

“To reveal a transgender person’s birth name without their explicit permission is an invasion of privacy that only serves to undermine the trans person’s true authentic identity, and can put them at risk for discrimination, even violence,” said Nick Adams the Director of Transgender Media & Representation at GLAAD.

This awareness comes to light due to the California anti-age discrimination law, which would allow performers to request that entertainment databases remove their age. The entertainment union SAG-Aftra sponsored this law which passed in 2016 was to combat gender and age discrimination. However, in 2018, a federal judge recently barred the actor-age censorship law because it was unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Now, SAG-Aftra is appealing this decision. 

The  union’s lawyer Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said the reason for this is because the court has “failed to understand or recognize the massive impact the publication of this personal information can have on the careers and lives of working performers.”

And he stated he is appreciative for the support:

“Highlighting how IMDb is invading the privacy of transgender performers by publishing their birth names is another facet of this case that we hope will help make it clear to the appellate judges that the harm here is fundamental and compelling, and that the California law is necessary in order to remedy it.”

IMDb proclaimed that it wants to be a respectable and comprehensive database for entertainment. A spokesperson told the Independent that when news information presented that a person changed their gender and/or name, their pages and credits will change too. 

Sites like Wikipedia and Twitter do not allow the publication of a trans person birthname, with Twitter considering misgendering and deadnaming as a violation of the Hateful Conduct policy.

SAG-Aftra represents about 160,000 film and TV actors, and other international media professionals.

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