IMDb Is Listing Transgender Actors’ Birth Names

Image via FX

Should We Be Protesting This Invasion Of Identity?


By now, I’m sure if you’re a part of the LGBTQ community, the struggle of our transgender brothers and sisters has touched our hearts. Chances are you have personally befriended a transgender person or simply empathize with their journey. Working in the entertainment industry, I’ve seen a growth in transgender representation both in front of and behind the cameras of Hollywood. I’m excited to witness transgender actors in the waiting room to audition for a role they normally wouldn’t have been seen for years ago. The outcry of having transgender actors is sometimes confusing: One cannot be an actor without taking the proper steps to enhance their talent, so people need to actually be good before they get hired. But, I think we can all agree we’re moving along slowly but surely in the entertainment industry. If you haven’t been hypnotized by the incredible ensemble on Pose or recognized Laverne Cox’s ability to land a role, you certainly have some studying to do. Yet, there seems to be a bit of an invasion of identity on one of the most popular entertainment websites.

According to The New York Times, the industry website IMDb is seemingly refusing to remove transgender actors birth names from their entertainment profiles. The practice of revealing a transgender person’s birth name is called “deadnaming”. IMDb released a statement, claiming they are dedicated to being the “most complete source of film, television, and celebrity information.” AKA: They aren’t going to remove birth names because they want to be entirely accurate on industry persons. Which, I completely understand – but, I can’t help but feel this is pretty cruel. I also have a nickname, but it likely won’t be on my tombstone. A transgender person’s identity and chosen name is in reality, them. For someone like Lady Gaga who bounces back and forth from her stage name to birth name, I think it’s entirely fine she has her most accurate information on the website and the like. However, transgender individuals should absolutely have the right to this information being released or not. Currently, IMDb is ignoring all requests to remove birth names. It kind of seems wrong. These performers are not someone like P!nk or Katy Perry using a pseudonym, these are their legit freakin’ names! Nick Adams, the director of transgender representation at GLAAD said:


“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.”


Last year, arguably the most well known transgender actress, the aforementioned Cox, took to her social media claiming deadnaming is “the ultimate insult”:


Do you believe IMDb having the birth names of transgender performers on their website is insulting?


Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.

H/T: New York Times

What do you think?