This may seem like a fluff post after the heavy duty posts and commentary that has filled my blog for the past week, but no less important to me in many ways. A few years ago, a number of folks on Facebook began to list ourselves with “Equality” as our middle name. Truth is, my middle name is Clyde, after my Grandfather, but for the past 2 years, I’ve been Thomas Equality Waters. Recently, Facebook has been cracking down on individuals who act outside of their user agreement, and using a fake name is a part of that agreement. Some individuals have had their profile pulled because of it. I’ve been contemplating what I would do, and I’ve come to a decision.

One of the things I value about Facebook, is that it does expect that a person is a real person, and a profile is an honest depiction of that person. I want to be friends with real people. Facebook allows an individual to form groups or set up fan pages so, there is really no need for there to bea fake profile. Others can argue about if you should be able to use a preferred name or if t must be your actual name- I don’t really want to participate in that debate. I see the value of requiring real names. On the other hand, I have seen value by using my name to remind everyone what the fight for LGBT Rights is all about- Equality.

I’ve decided to return my Facebook name to my actual name, and drop the use of Equality as a middle name. I see this as an act of coming out and being more authentic. I was never in the closet (well I haven’t been in the closet for over 35 years) and I think another way to advocate for equality is to make myself as visible as I can be, and that includes identifying myself by my full real name. Using the middle name of Equality has served me well, and was a great project, and now it is time to pick up from what it has fgained and use other tactics to move even further ahead.

My middle name doesn’t have to be Equality for me to be contantly working for Equality. In fact, by taking it out of my name, I force myself to make sure I am talking about Equality even more than before so that this word is heard over and over, and considered as an important goal by more and more people.

So today, on Facebook, I return to Thomas Clyde Waters, and I will keep working for LGBT liberation, freedom and equality. Others may choose differently, I respect everyone’s decision.

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