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Scientific journals ‘pretty close’ to ideal system for transgender name changes

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cientific journals are “pretty close” to an ideal system that allows transgender people to change their names in past publications without the trauma of having to come out each time, an academic has said.

In the past, trans researchers would either have to put up with their former names appearing on papers they had authored, or prove their identity in order to see their names printed as corrections next to a name they no longer used – their deadname.

Tanja Junkers, an associate editor of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC) journal Chemical Science, who is transgender, told the PA news agency scientists had left the profession because of the issue.

She explained that when she came out about five years ago, she thought trying to change her name on publications that used her deadname was “futile”.

And I’m really, really glad that people who come out now do not have to struggle any more because they are able to retroactively change

For her, the difficulties even influenced the name she eventually chose as she tried to limit the damage to her career.

But now policy changes led by the RSC mean author names can be changed in its journals without them being published as corrections, and without the need for the academic to prove their identity.

They can also be changed without the former name appearing on the paper, meaning scientists no longer have to explain to students and colleagues why there are two names.

Prof Junkers told the PA news agency: “I don’t even want to completely erase it (former name), but just hearing it actually is painful.

“At first I thought it doesn’t bother me too much.

“I think I only realised how much it really bothered me four years ago when I moved to Australia, and we had this thing where we started to put up our latest papers on a pinboard for the students to read.

“And then one of my students came to me and said ‘you actually realise that half of the papers have your old name on them?’.

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