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Editors' Note, Opinions

Editors’ note: Changing deadnames and pronouns

By
Monday, May 17, 2021

In order to respect individuals’ current and lived identities, The Herald has adopted a new policy regarding requests from transgender or nonbinary individuals to replace their deadname and/or change their pronouns featured in previously published work on The Herald’s website. Upon receiving such a request, The Herald will make the gender-affirming changes online in a timely manner and without a correction or editor’s note marking the change.

This policy is intended to respect transgender and nonbinary individuals. We will not include an editor’s note announcing the gender-affirming change(s) made in response to such a request because we believe such a note would risk outing the individual and causing harm. Because the information included in the article was accurate at the time of publishing, we do not feel this raises questions about transparency or accountability.

We think this policy reflects both our commitment to accuracy and our ethical obligation to minimize harm. We are eager to see how other newsrooms, both our student peers and at professional news organizations, address this and similar questions in the coming months and years.

If you would like to request a deadname or pronoun change on our website, please reach out to herald@browndailyherald.com.

Editors’ Notes are written by The Herald’s 131st editorial board: Kayla Guo ’22.5, Henry Dawson ’22.5, Li Goldstein ’22, Emilija Sagaityte ’22, Kate Ok ’22, Emily Teng ’22 and Kamran King ’22

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  1. My pronouns are so stunning, so brave.

  2. alum commenter says:

    I think we should be extraordinarily hesitant about *literally* covertly rewriting history . A reasonable middle position would at least include an editor’s note appended to indicate that language has been updated for consistency with contemporary standards.

    Separately, I’m skeptical about the logistics. Will the BDH update an article from 20 years ago to accommodate an anachronistic singular “they” pronoun? And what’s the plan for when names / pronouns are included in quotations, e.g., “‘I disagree with Jon Doe,’ said Jon Roe ’21.” When Jon Doe transitions to Jane Doe, then will Jon Roe’s quoted statement be updated to attribute a statement to him that he never made?

    • This kind of policy has no place in a school that teaches history. Have newspapers become secondary to facts? Perhaps some trans people want their old names kept. Does the editorial board even care?

  3. alum tormenter says:

    Are you bored or something? None of this matters. This is a school newspaper.

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