Facebook: Don't "Kill" Mupp Freek.
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My name is Mupp Freek. Or at least that's the name I've had for over five years on Facebook. Facebook wants to kill me. Literally and figuratively.
Years ago when I signed up for Facebook, I did not want to use my real name for a variety of reasons mainly concerning safety issues. I am a gay man and have many people from my past who've wanted to hurt me because I'm gay. Even members of my own family (via in-laws). My job was not a gay-friendly atmosphere and I greatly feared if someone from work went checking up on fellow employees, the news of my sexual orientation could be spread to the wrong person and I'd lose my job. In this day and age, people must be very protective and careful about what they do under their name on the internet (that's what they teach people in school today) and I knew that the #1 way people try to track down and find information on other people is via Facebook. I decided rather than open myself to very real threats or harm, i would use a nickname. I chose Mupp Freek because that was a variation of a handle i was using elsewhere, including a personal blog. For over five years, this has never been a problem. In those five years, I've established a strong identity - practically a "brand" under that name. I post regular commentary on pop culture and recurring features such as "Mupp Freek's Song of the Day", "Mupp Freek's Holiday Awareness" and "Mupp Freek's Muppday Muppet Mania". "Mupp Freek" is how people know me. When it comes to my online life, I AM Mupp Freek. That is "my name"!
All of a sudden, Facebook wants me to change to my "real name". I've tried explaining to them the risks this puts me under in terms of personal safety. Also the fact that I have had this name for so long now, that to suddenly cause me to surrender it - especially since it's become somewhat akin to a "brand name" is like killing me. I've been Mupp Freek for so long, that IS my name in the online world. That's how people know me, that's how they identify me. That's not something that should be stripped away. I should be allowed to keep it. It's every bit as "real" as my birth name...if not even more so!
Many of you may be reading this who have never heard of me, have no idea who I am (on or offline) and may wonder "Why should I care?" Here's why:
GBLT people face many challenges the straight world can't even begin to imagine. This is sadly true under "normal circumstances" but in 2017, we are far beyond "normal" - our government is rapidly turning into a fascist state with the upper echelons of power being taken over by homophobes, white supremacists, people who want to not only take away our rights but also our lives. In the very near future, it's not all that unimaginable that gays in The United States could be subject to the same horrors they did in Nazi Germany. It's not just the GBLT community that should be very nervous but also women, people of color, those of different religions, political leanings, etc. Forcing people to use social media by their own name - even when doing so could expose them to threats or harm or offline harassment - is absolutely not a precedent that the world's largest social media company should be practicing, and most certainly NOT at this highly charged time in our political climate.
Let me tell you something else about myself. Over the last several years, I've struggled with the decision as to whether or not to commit suicide. I've lost a great deal over the last decade - some of which has been due to antigay harassment, other things via economic hardship. But I'm still here. I've made it this far. I didn't struggle this long to keep surviving one day at a time just so I could be forced by a social media company to put a huge target on my back for people who want to hurt me. What they're doing is not right. My "Mupp Freek" identity is being taken away. And soon, my offline life could be robbed from me as well as a result of their actions. I am terrified.
But it's not just terror, it's anger. It's being told I don't matter. I've been Mupp Freek so long now, I've earned the right to have that name. It's how people online know me. After the amount of time that has passed, it's not something that should be taken away. It's my brand. It's my identity. It's who I am. It's My Name. It's Me.
Please join me in telling Facebook this is not right. Mupp Freek has earned the right to be called by the name he's been publicly known as for so long. He should be able to freely use Facebook without fear of who may be cyberstalking him - be they bullies, insane relatives, or even our own government. By the same token, they need to strongly reconsider this new precedent they're wanting to enforce and how dangerous it is to many members of the Facebook community during this current political climate. There's nothing wrong with *encouraging* people to use their birth names...but going beyond encouragement into being given no choice and being forced upon someone, even if doing so puts the user at risk, is flat out wrong.
I beg you, help me spare my life - both my online and my offline one. Sign this petition. Let Mupp Freek live.
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