IMDb Updates Birthname Policy to Allow Removal in a Win for Trans Actors

by Sam Cronin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday August 13, 2019

IMDb received some criticism from LGBTQ actors and activists in June over their policy regarding actors' birthnames. The company previously did not allow actors or representatives to remove birthnames in any circumstance, which was called a form of deadnaming. EDGE reported on the original policy here.

On Monday, however, IMDb changed its stance according to Variety, who received word from a company spokesperson.
"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 spokesperson said.

The representative went on to outline the procedure for requesting removal, which still requires the approval of an IMDb employee.

"To remove a birth name either the person concerned or their professional industry representative simply needs to contact IMDb's customer support staff to request a birth name removal," the spokesperson added. "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."

IMDb will still publish birth names in the case that the person is credited on screen with that name. According to Entertainment Weekly, the: "credited name will remain listed in the credits section of applicable IMDb name and title pages in parentheses."

This comes as a win to trans actors and actresses such as Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), who campaigned against the policy two months ago, outlining how harmful deadnaming had been to her in a heartfelt Twitter post.

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