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After protests from LGBTQ groups, IMDb will allow removal of birth names from database


IMDb has announced that it’ll allow transgender individuals to remove their birth names from the site. (Getty Images)

Deadnaming is dead.

The Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, has announced a major change in its policy regarding the “deadnaming” of industry professionals.

“Deadnaming” is the practice of referring to a transgender person’s birth name without their consent. It’s an “invasion of privacy that only serves to undermine the trans person’s true authentic identity, and can put them at risk for discrimination, even violence,” Nick Adams, director of transgender representation at the LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD told the New York Times.

Emmy-winning producer, actress, and transgender activist Laverne Cox calls the practice “the ultimate insult.”

On Monday, IMDb — the world’s largest online database of information related to movies, television, cast and crew — announced that it’d finally start allowing transgender individuals to remove their birth names from the site, when requested.

“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 organization’s spokesperson said on Monday, according to Variety.

“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 said. “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.”

The new rule is the result of a push by a coalition of LGBTQ rights groups, who backed a legal challenge proposed by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) in June.

Organizations such as GLADD, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and the Transgender Law Center, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Transcend Legal, Inc and Equality Federation called on IMDb to end the practice, which critics consider demeaning and discriminatory.

Launched in 1990 as a fan-operated site, IMDb is now the industry reference for information regarding cast, crew and production details of video content. An Amazon subsidiary since 1998, IMDb has now over 336 million data items listed.