Penn Adopts ‘Preferred Name Initiative’ for Trans Students

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Transgender students at Penn now have the option to use a name other than the one on their birth certificate thanks to the university’s newly launched Preferred-Name Initiative. The new plan streamlines a process that was already in place on campus. Previously, students could set up a meeting with Senior Associate Director of the LGBT Center Erin Cross to institute a name change, but the process wasn’t publicized. Therefore, most students would only hear about it through word of mouth. More from The Daily Pennsylvanian

Now, students who identify as transgender, gender non-comforming, gender variant and non-cisgender who would like to use a preferred name can fill out the Preferred Name Change Form online. … Students who wish to use a preferred name will also meet with one of three trans allies, who aim to “facilitate a confidential process.” … A student’s preferred name will then be used “where feasible in all University systems unless the student’s birth name and/or legal name use is required by law or the student’s preferred name use is for intent of misrepresentation. …


Cross says that having an official process for requesting a preferred name not only legitimizes students’ identities, but it also helps keep them safe. She said students have encountered identification problems in the past when they present themselves as more masculine but their PennCard has a typically feminine name, for example. ...

For incoming freshmen in particular, this initiative is especially important to demonstrate that Penn has resources available for transgender individuals and to help ease the stresses of coming to a new college campus as a transgender student.

For more, check out The Daily Pennsylvanian article, here.

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