I have been known as _____ by friends and family, both online and “in real life” since 1997. I prefer it to the name given to me before my birth. Everyone I know calls me by this name and very few people actually know the name on my birth certificate, because I don’t use it other than for legal documents. My grandchildren even call me Grandma ______.

I have been stalked several times and am a survivor of rape. I would prefer that the people who have caused me such pain not be able to find me again simply by typing my legal name into Facebook.

When someone who doesn’t know me reported my “fake” name to Facebook, I explained all of this to them in great detail, but they simply didn’t care about my safety or ability to connect with people I love. I had to create a new account using a false name, but rather than ______, I use an “acceptable” pseudonym of traditional first and last name.

—Anonymous