Now Haus of Phag is a brand. Though it's not a registered company, it's an umbrella term that encompasses its creative output in whatever form, written or created by myself or others affiliated or working with me. While its logo encompasses an actual human form (silent movie star Lillian Gish, in case you were wondering), at no point can you claim Haus of Phag is a person or a character. A drag queen however is far from this. Regardless of how many of the physical or emotional attributes it includes of the person behind the makeup, there's no doubt that each drag queen is a living and functioning human (or sometimes alien) being. They may not have been "born" in the same sense that you or I have been, but socially, Anna Phylactic, Belinda Scandal and Misty Chance are about as alive it's possible to be.
The reasoning for Facebook's enforcement is that it promotes online transparency, ensuring that people know who they are talking to. We've all heard of people with fake profiles, creating an online life for themselves that's completely fake and luring in unsuspecting young people, etc etc. Watch Catfish and it's enough to scare anyone off social media for life, but this spate of name challenges comes solely from a person looking at a name and thinking "I don't think Misty Chance is that person's real name". Misty didn't have to change his name to Christian, he could have been a Lee Roberts or a Johan Schwartzman or a Glen Theodopolous, as long as the person at the other end might look at his name and think "that could be his name". So how is that safeguarding anyone? Or being transparent? It's being pedantic for the sake of being pedantic, but on an international and internet-wide scale.
My name is Ben. I may have had this name my whole life, but if I'd assumed it at birth, aged 5, 16 or 24, it's still my name and nobody has the right to take that away from me. On legal documents I'm called Benjamin, but on all other mediums I will remain Ben, including Facebook, because it's my social name. At no point has Facebook claimed to be a legal charter, or an official identity document. A few days ago, a group of drag queens met with Facebook representatives in San Francisco to plead their case, but were met with stoic resistance. Unlike other members of the trans* community, their names are not protected as part of their gender identity in law. It would appear that this rule is here to stay, so as long as drag queens use "non-natural" sounding names, they will be called into question over their validity on Facebook.
So once again, drag is forced to square up to the establishment, as it has since the very first drag queen strapped on her heels. While responses have come in many forms (the Dragbook website looks especially exciting), it's important to remember that obstacles are only obstacles if people accept them as such. So while more people are now aware that Misty Chance is also Christian James D'Arcy, that doesn't undermine Misty's existence. As always, we should shout "Vive La Drag Queens!" and not acknowledge this annoying cyber-foible. But you can't help but grumble along with the rest of us - Facebook, you're behaving like a prick.