I suspect i would have made less fuss about my thursday encounter if it weren’t for a Friday follow-up from an entirely different quarter: a publisher.
A major part of the problem is that we have expectations of little old ladies in terms of sweetness and tea-drinking and cat-stroking. We aren’t trained to expect “old dears” to be utter loonies, let alone display major psychopathic tendencies: so we make allowances we shouldn’t. Why, i don’t know: anyone who met my grandmother in her twilight years would certainly have had cause to revise their view of older women.
Bigoted? Yep. Homophobic? Racist? Definitely. Violent moods? Absolutely. She departed this world at some point in her 90’s – but not before putting a dent into several cast iron cooking implements, and alarming her neighbours sufficiently that they talked openly of her as a fire hazard. May she rest in peace.
Friday, however, it was the turn of one of the companies i work for to get me wondering about veiled transphobia. I wrote once before about how they amended biographical details on work i’d done for them AFTER final copy had been supposedly fed back to me in order to change my name back to an older (male) variant or, more subtly, to degender the text entirely.
When i queried this, i got a load of guff about published name needing to be the same as the name on their accounts system (huh? had they never dealt with a married woman?) and assured me it was nothing to do with difficulties over my trans status. I let it be. Given that they are a major component of my income, i had to: but i remained less than happy.
There had been far too much of the underhand about how the name change was introduced, and if a rat had not been involved in the process, there was a distinct whiff of rattiness about the whole thing.
So i was pleased to receive a cheque on friday for a fairly large (several thousands of large) sum for work done: and close to incandescent to realise a) it was a cheque, despite the fact that they are well aware that banking details are set up and b) that they had managed to combine elements of my name (initial and academic surname) in such a way as to make the cheque payable to a near facsimile of my old name.
I am at a total loss as to what is going on here. I mean, to me, it is all terribly simple. I used to be called by my old name. I am now known almost universally as Jane Fae, and, for academic continuity, i use a minor variant on that so people aware of my serious publishing history won’t lose track entirely.
A bit like a woman who uses here married name for most purposes, but double barrels for academic conferences.
I have perfectly good bank accounts in my old name (for picking up any lingering payments made to the old me) and in my present name, for all other purposes: and they have details of both, enabling them to pay by direct transfer.
It just feels like someone, somewhere in the organisation just hates the idea of changing from a male to a female name. Can i prove it? No.
Do i think that is what is happening? Indubitably. Which is what makes it all the more frustrating.
I shall wait and see what they do next.