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.



3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Circadian said,

    Not much detail there to work with, but it sounds a lot like a database was involved – I’m thinking that maybe you got tagged with an id setup with your original details, and then those never got updated correctly. You’re right: a conversation with those responsible is definitely in order, but I have a suspicion that (against my usual cynical self) this is simply an unwitting error rather than something deliberate.

    Good luck in sorting it out – if databases are involved, those things seem at times to have bloody-minded determination never to let things get corrected.

    • 2

      janefae said,

      sorry, C, but nothing like as reasonable. Someone went into the repor, changed my biog and sent me a “final copy” that didn’t show that change.

      As a friend just wrote to me: “Congratulations, you’re officially a woman. You now have the distinct privilege of being shat upon by people who think that females are intellectually inferior.”

      i’ll send you some more detail in an e-mail..then you decide!


      • 3

        Circadian said,

        Ouch – you’re right. That’s not an automated SNAFU, that’s a very personalised… can’t even call it an error. The only words that can describe it are not very polite.
        I can see why you would be upset/furious. Hope you can manage to get them to publish what was agreed in the end.

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