In March, the student services monthly newsletter brought long-awaited news for transgender students and faculty. Admissions and Records updated their process on students wanting to change their name to their preferred name, making it much more simple and quick.
The newsletter read that the new process was “to help students change their names to align with their gender identity and to update school-related accounts and class rosters to reflect their preferred name.”
Over 200 colleges around the nation allow students to change their name to their preferred name without legal documentation. This is includes four year universities as well as community colleges. However, not all colleges allow for a students name to be changed “for official academic uses due to legal or technical restrictions,” according to the California Community Colleges application for admission.
Schools aren’t the only ones moving towards this direction. Usually when a resident of California wants to change their name legally, they have to petition to the court. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, if the name change relates to gender, the person does not need to show up to the court hearing or publish their name change in a newspaper where it is required for a non-gender-related name change.
The California Courts website says once the judge approves the request for a name change, they (the judge) will sign a Decree of Changing Name. After this form gets signed, the requester can then change all legal documents.
According to the Courts, the only reason a judge wouldn’t grant a name change would be because they someone is trying to commit fraud, someone is hiding from the law or another legal reason.
The Courts also say, “You do not need a court ordered recognition of gender change to change your California driver’s license, social security card, or U.S. passport. You also do not need a court order to have a new birth certificate issued reflecting a change of gender.”
All these forms all have a reminder that changing one’s name isn’t the same as a gender change.
In January of this past year, the California Department of Public Health, “will issue a new birth certificate reflecting a gender of female, male, non-binary or (-) upon receipt of the appropriate documentation.”