I have used my Facebook account under my preferred name since 2007. In that time I have never had anyone question it or think that I was someone else or that I was projecting a false identity. I created my Facebook account under the name that I used in every day life, the name I introduced myself as to absolutely everyone, the name that I used as a leader of a student group in university, the name that I used when I spoke to voters during community activism work.
Losing my preferred name—that I used to protect myself from a number of relatives who were openly hostile to the me and who I don’t want to involve in my life—has significantly injured my work as a professional author and artist. I can no longer connect with people I care about.
Perhaps most sadly, I have lost access to a collection of pictures I had shared of my now-deceased pet. Some of these pictures are one of a kind; I don’t have copies elsewhere. I just want my account back so I can save these pictures again. I don’t want to lose these memories.
—Silence “KittyBones” Maestas
Salt Lake City, UT