Sea slug was named after a trans campaigner

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A species of sea slug with two genders has been named in honor of Malaysia transgender activist Nisha Ayub. Leena Wong from Universiti Putra Malaysia stumbled upon a previously-undiscovered genus of underwater slug while collecting algae samples from Malaysia’s Blue Lagoon. Wong and co-author Patrick Krug monitored five distinct species of sea slugs for the first time, fixing the results of their research in the academic journal. One of the five new species was named Sacoproteus nishae, in honor of Greek sea god Proteus and the famous Malaysian trans campaigner. The inspiration for the name comes from the slug itself, it has blended gender characteristics. Nisha Ayub told the Malay Mail that she is honored that the trans community is acknowledged in society and it has been represented even in biology. Despite her international renown, the activist still faces oppression in Malaysia. An art exhibition featuring a portrait of Ayub faced a government crackdown in August 2018.

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