By Tom Temprano
Facebook is ruffling quite a few wigs this week after sending notices to a number of notable drag queens, who locally include Heklina, Sister Roma, Monistat, Lady Bear and others and others, informing them that their drag names do not constitute “legal identities” as per the social media site’s new arbitrary policy.
Oh Facebook, if only you knew the 11th Commandment: Don’t fuck with drag queens. Drag queens start riots, drag queens publicly highlight the deficiencies of others for a living, and most importantly drag queens generate more compelling and interactive content than just about any other users on your platform.
Facebook has a long history of deciding what queer people should and shouldn’t identify as, and this is just one more insult in a long line of injuries. Remember how long it took them to add adequate gender options? My hope is that this wrong will quickly be righted lest drag queens start getting really angry. There’s already a Change.org petition with nearly 2,000 signatures demanding a reversal of the policy. I’m also hearing growing rumblings of an impending drag queen protest at Facebook’s headquarters which, ironically enough, would likely be the most social media saturated protest of the year.
I asked a couple of the abovementioned local queens to share their thoughts on the new change:
Sister Roma (currently going by Michael Williams):
I’m outraged by the autocratic and demoralizing demand by Facebook that I use my legal name “as it appears on my driver’s license or credit card” on my personal profile page. To me it signifies the commercialization of Facebook. It is a slap in the face to all things creative and disregards the fact that many of us are known exclusively as our personas. We’re not trying to fool or deceive anyone. Worse than that I find it discriminatory to transgender and gender nonconforming individuals who are finally at peace with their identities on Facebook. Many of us CHOOSE our name and that is what makes it “real.” Ask anyone and they will tell you my name IS Roma.
Lady Bear (currently going by Senora Oso):
I had always perceived Facebook as a way to empower and promote yourself and your work –well I don’t feel empowered right now. I really don’t think the decision makers at Facebook are thinking about their users -or at least the users that don’t look like or have lifestyles similar to their own. In that sense it smacks of hetero-normativity & exclusion. The whole point of Facebook is to connect people- drag & burlesque & musicians that use stage names are “power users” that connect thousands of people -far more per capita than a typical Fb user – thousands of willing, Happy participants. How can fb think curtailing that is going to foster community & connectivity?
David Chiu’s margin in the Assembly race is shrinking faster than the margin of an overly-annotated college textbook (it’s a stretch, I know, but try and come up with a good margin quip). A Sunday column by Matier and Ross cited a poll showing the assembly race between Chiu and Campos is in a dead heat. The poll showed both Davids’ support to be at 37% and showed that both share an identical 50% job approval rating. This is quite a slide for Chiu, who in January released a poll showing him leading by 12 points – a lead that narrowed to only 3% after voters cast their ballots in June.
Heading toward November Campos appears to have seized the momentum in the race and Chiu seems to be running scared. I hear that at Wednesday night’s CMAC debate Chiu even went so far as to claim that HE was responsible for the success of Free Muni for youth – a program that David Campos a) helped create b) found funding for c) got passed at the MTC despite intense opposition. After six years as Board President, Chiu ought to have more to tout than legislation that clearly belongs his opponent.
Speaking of important local races, there is a winner in the highly competitive Best Burrito Bracket contest and it surprisingly (according to SFist) went to Mission District taqueria La Taqueria. The esteemed Jay Barman, whose burrito expertise I deeply admire, has claimed that Taqueria Cancun was slighted during the contest – a slight that adds insult to injury as it was recently revealed that the lease on Cancun’s 19th and Mission location may be in jeopardy.
Now, I mean no disrespect to either La Taqueria or Taqueria Cancun but I would be remiss if, as someone who self identifies as a carnita and eats about a burrito a day, I didn’t weigh in on the best burrito controversy. As delicious as both of those burritos are I don’t think any place in town holds a candle to Chavitas on 26th and Mission, which has ridiculously delicious carnitas burritos. I have admittedly lived a block and a half from this gem for nearly four years and only recently discovered its magic – so I’ve made up for lost time and am gnawing through their fare at an alarming rate.
So, now that I’ve reopened Pandora’s Burrito Box I invite you to share your favorites in the comments. For my part I promise to try and favorites mentioned that I’ve not yet had the pleasure of digging into.
TOM’S TOP TWO THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND
1) The Prop G Kickoff. Saturday, Harvey Milk Plaza @ 11am.
The real estate industry has money (and lots of it) to throw at this race but they’re lacking one thing that will be out in force this Saturday morning – people power.
2) Sunday Streets in the Western Addition. Sunday, in the Western Addition of course.
Enjoy what will hopefully be some decent San Francisco summer weather in a neighborhood (that if you’re me) you don’t spend anywhere near enough time in. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Sunday Streets for calling the neighborhood by its name and not by some realtor contrived acronym.