A pair of transgener actors are speaking out against the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) for allowing their birth names to be published the popular movie website.

photo courtesy of LC.org

“Speaking on condition of anonymity, representatives for two trans actors with major television credits told IndieWire that they have not been able to remove this information from IMDB, even after extensive lobbying from management, representatives at one of the top three Hollywood agencies, and GLAAD, the leading LGBTQ media advocacy organization,” reports IndieWire, calling the practice “deadnaming.”

LGBTQ activists have regularly taken on platforms, website for the practice of “deadnaming” (Wikipedia being one target), which they claim causes “feelings of dysphoria, invalidating their identities, and negatively impacting job prospects.”

“We contacted them immediately and they gave us a total non-apology,” an anonymous trans actor told IndieWire. “Claiming that it’s public information and they do this with everyone.”

Trangender actor Jake Graf, who transitioned before his film career began, says the prospect of “deadnaming” is horrifying to transgender people.

“If that were to happen to me, obviously I’d be horrified,” Graf said. “It just seems like an infringement of privacy. It seems like you’re outing someone. On so many levels, it seems wrong.”

IMDB issued a statement to Deadline in which they said that users can use the “Edit” button to correct their page if they desire it, noting that birth names are a matter of public record and that they will not “alter or remove correct factual information from our records.”

IMDb is committed to being the most authoritative and complete source of film, TV and celebrity information. Our users trust that when they use IMDb, they are receiving comprehensive and accurate biographical information.

IMDb strives to represent an individual’s gender identity while also accurately reflecting cast and crew listings as they appear in a production’s on-screen credits at the time of original release. When we become aware via our standard data contribution methods that an individual has changed their gender and/or name, we use the new gender and/or name on their page and credits. For productions they previously worked on, their credited name is also available in parentheses, in order to accurately reflect what was listed on-screen. This process is applied uniformly, consistently and without bias to preserve the factual historical record. For any individuals who wish to specify their preferred pronouns these can be recorded as part of their biography section.

Every page on IMDb has an ‘Edit’ button which any registered user can use to submit additions or corrections to IMDb content. Additionally, we have customer support staff to handle any question or request which, for any reason, can’t be communicated via our standard data contribution forms.

What’s the difference between transgender and gender dysphoria?

“Transgender is a non-medical term that has been used increasingly since the 1990s as an umbrella term describing individuals whose gender identity (inner sense of gender) or gender expression (outward performance of gender) differs from the sex or gender to which they were assigned at birth. Some people who use this term do not consider themselves as matching a binary gender category. ” – American Psychiatric Association

“Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.” – American Psychiatric Association