Last year I changed my name to Uncle Mikey, a name I use with friends and as a drag performer… but the reason I changed it is that my wife works in a mental health facility and her profile (already under a pseudonym) got seen by clients who should not have seen it, and that profile identified me as her spouse. So I changed mine to be safe.

When the real names controversy blew up last September, I created a meme showing the reasons why people might use a pseudonym. These were drawn from real experiences of friends who feared stalkers, abusive family members, gang retribution, professional consequences or simply wanted privacy. It went viral, hitting twenty thousand shares in three days… at which point Facebook suspended my account for using a pseudonym. In order to keep all 20,000 instances of my meme from disappearing I was forced to revert to my real name in spite of risks related to my wife’s job. I have tried to change it back to Uncle Mikey since Facebook announced that they would “fix” the policy, but I am told I cannot.

—Mike Woolson
Oakland, CA