How bad can it get? I found out this morning when something happened and – I felt sick. Physically sick!
I clicked on a link: saw what was on screen; and felt like I’d just been kicked in the stomach.
I’m going to pick my words carefully here…not identify the company responsible although I guess, in the very unlikely event that someone from there is reading, they’ll know. Well. On record then: I’m not outing you. But a conversation is needed. A very serious conversation.
I started doing stuff for this company – some pretty major pieces of work – a while back, just as I was starting to transition publically. Because it was at the serious po-faced end of my work, I allowed the first piece of work to be in my old name – but ever since, I have used my present name, identified as female in my biog (which is attached to each piece of work published) and at no time indicated I wished to be referred to as anyone other than Jane.
In final proofs for some of the work, the biog was exactly as I’d written it. My name: Jane. My gender: female.
Final proofs are, of course, meant to be just that. Its bad practice to change stuff after an author has seen a final proof: it is a recipe for all manner of unpleasantness, not least the way in which errors can creep into text which was otherwise error-free.
I had been puzzled, though: I’ve not found my work on the net and wondered if this was one of those rare companies that stayed offline. Until today.
I searched under my old name. There it was. Not just for the original work…but for everything since.
Not just old name – but old gender, too.
The very least worst that has happened is that some sub-editor has gone for consistency. Even then, they’d have had to go in to the final copy and change it after I’d approved it.
The other possibility…possibilities…just don’t bear thinking about.
I guess, at the outset, like many people who’ve lived their birth gender for many years, I never understood how important this was.
Oh, but don’t I know it now!
Honest mistake doesn’t much bother me. I smile, often, as people who’ve known me in my old life struggle to remember to “get it right” in my new. They mean well, and I am sorry that they feel embarrassed when years-long habit wins out over best intentions.
Deliberate erasure is something else entirely.