LGBTQ Advocacy Groups Push For IMDb To Stop 'Deadnaming' Trans Entertainers
"(It) is an invasion of privacy that only serves to undermine the trans person’s true authentic identity."
July 01, 2019 at 2:44 pm
Advocacy groups are requesting that IMDb stop publishing the birth names of transgender performers without their permission. The practice is known as "deadnaming" — using the birth name of someone who has changed it — and it can lead to prejudicial treatment, critics say.
"To reveal a transgender person’s birth name without their explicit permission is an invasion of privacy that only serves to undermine the trans person’s true authentic identity, and can put them at risk for discrimination, even violence," said Nick Adams, Director of Transgender Media & Representation at GLAAD, a group that pushes for LGBTQ advocacy in the media.
According to The New York Times, GLAAD and other advocacy groups announced on Wednesday that they are supporting a legal appeal, launched by entertainment union SAG-AFTRA, in its fight to stop IMDb from publishing the birth names of trans actors and other performers if they don't want it known. The union represents approximately 160,000 film and TV actors, as well as other media professionals across the globe.
As IndieWire reports, the union has been in a legal battle with IMDb since 2017, when it sponsored California’s anti-age discrimination law. The law would have required IMDb Pro and other subscription-based entertainment databases to remove a performer's age upon request — an attempt to combat gender and age discrimination — but a judge stopped enforcement of the law in 2018.
In an August 2018 tweet, actress Laverne Cox wrote about the harmful impact of deadnaming in the trans community.
“I have been saying for years that misgendering a trans person is an act of violence. When I say that I am referring to cultural and structural violence," the Orange is the New Black star tweeted.
In an official statement, an IMDb rep told IndieWire that the site is committed to being the most comprehensive source of movie, TV and celebrity information.
"Our users trust that when they use IMDb, they are receiving comprehensive and accurate biographical information," the rep said. "IMDb strives to represent an individual’s gender identity while also accurately reflecting cast and crew listings as they appear in a production’s on-screen credits at the time of original release."