IMDB adopts new trans-friendly naming policy

Jake Graf

Trans actors struck another blow for equality this week, as the resource site the Internet Movie Database has adopted a new policy surrounding birth names.

The IMDB, which boasts itself as the world’s most popular site for entertainment information, had come under fire from several transgender artists–including Laverne Cox & Jake Graf–and activist groups like GLAAD, which criticized a site policy that would feature a birth name listing on artist pages. This policy of deadnaming resulted in a legal challenge by GLAAD against the IMDB and parent company Amazon.

Related: Mastercard’s new ‘True Name’ program is a master stroke in trans inclusivity

Now, the site has made a coarse correction. “IMDb now permits the removal of birth names if the birth name is not broadly publicly known and the person no longer voluntarily uses their birth name,” the site said in an announcement. Birth names will still feature on the site, though artists will now have the option to request edits to their page and remove the dead name following a screening process by the site.

“Once the IMDb team determines that an individual’s birth name should be removed – subject to this updated process – we will review and remove every occurrence of their birth name within their biographical page on IMDb,” a spokesperson for the site explained.

Representatives for the IMDB also added one caveat: individuals who were credited on a project using their birth name will still have their original name listed in parentheses under their credit pages. The site insists on keeping the deadnames for a point of historical reference only.

The IMDB is not the first site to come under fire for deadnaming transgender people. Both Wikipedia and Twitter have faced similar scrutiny, though recently Twitter adopted new policies to eliminate the deadnaming slander.

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