IMDb Changes Policy, Will Allow Transgender Performers To Remove Birth Names

(Photo: Shuttertock, Gil C)

Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
Font Size:

IMDb has decided to change its existing policy and will now allow industry professionals, including transgender performers, to remove their birth names.

“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,” a spokesperson for the outlet shared with Variety in a piece published Tuesday. (RELATED: NBC Universal: No Plans To Change Release Date Of Film About Liberals Hunting Conservatives Following Mass Shootings)

Actor Chloe Sevigny of 'Lizzie' attends The IMDb Studio and The IMDb Show on Location at The Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for IMDb)

Actor Chloe Sevigny of ‘Lizzie’ attends The IMDb Studio and The IMDb Show… January 20, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for IMDb)

“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.” (RELATED: ‘The Hunt’ Has Ads Pulled Following Mass Shootings)

According to the report:

The issue arose in June after a coalition of national LGBTQ groups objected to IMDB’s continued publication of the birth names of transgender performers and people in the entertainment industry without their consent — a practice commonly called “dead-naming.” An IMDb spokesperson revealed the altered policy on Monday.

And for those performers whose birth name actually appeared on-screen, that name will remain listed in the credits section of “applicable IMDb name and title pages in parentheses.”

“This is in order to continue providing IMDb’s hundreds of millions of customers worldwide with comprehensive information about film and TV credits, thereby preserving the factual historical record by accurately reflecting what is listed on-screen,” the spokesperson explained.

The groups that made up the coalition included,  SAG-AFTRA, the National LGBTQ Task Force, GLAAD and the Transgender Law Center, among others.

Union President Gabrielle Carteris called the “half-measure” policy a “step forward.” But said it doesn’t go far enough to help transgender people.

“While this half-measure is a step forward in protecting the personal safety of and reducing employment discrimination for transgender people, in revising its birth name policy, IMDb admits to invading the privacy of performers and putting them at risk for discrimination,” Carteris said. “IMDb can make no principled distinction to justify its arbitrary choices about when to invade the privacy of performers. IMDb has more work to do.”