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On International Transgender Day of Visibility, Rep. Jayapal and Sen. Markey Urge Companies to End Harmful Policies that Restrict Public Profile Names

These policies can result in transgender users being “deadnamed” – or referred to by the birth or legal name that they no longer use – and being “outed” against their will

WASHINGTON – On International Transgender Day of Visibility, U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) called on Facebook, PayPal, Discover, Visa, and Instacart to alter their restrictive public-facing name change policies. These platforms currently require users to submit legal documentation and endure a potentially lengthy and expensive legal process to change their public-facing profile name on their accounts. As a result of these strict policies, trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming users can be “deadnamed” – or referred to by the birth or legal name with which they no longer identify – and may be “outed” against their will each time they use these platforms or services, which can endanger their health and safety. The letters reference other companies that provide more flexibility when it comes to name changes, and the lawmakers call on the letter recipients to take steps to increase flexibility and remove the barriers to easy and cost-free name changes.

“When transgender individuals cannot change their legal name, and their former birth or legal name remains displayed as their profile name online, they are ‘deadnamed,’ write the lawmakers in their letters to the companies. “Deadnaming can have an especially harsh impact on transgender youth. Displaying a transgender individual’s deadname on their profiles can ‘out’ or reveal that person’s gender identity and sexual orientation without their consent, which can endanger their safety and even their life.”

A copy of the letters to the companies can be found here.

Other Senators signing the letter include Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).  Members of the House of Representatives signing the letter include Mark Takano (CA-41), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Sean Casten (IL-06), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), David Cicilline (RI-01), Dina Titus (NV-01), Marie Newman (IL-03), André Carson (IN-07), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03) and Alan Lowenthal (CA-47).