About the Chosen Name and Chosen Pronoun Initiative
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Chosen Name and Chosen Pronoun committee and the Academic Senate have worked with many other individuals at Lansing Community College to create language, training, and documentation for employees and students to identify by their Chosen Name.
Under Lansing Community College's (LCC) Chosen Name and Chosen Pronoun initiative any student or employee of LCC may choose to identify by their Chosen or Preferred Name in addition to their Legal Name.
Students of LCC may request this option via their LCC profile. The student's Chosen Name may be used in many contexts, including LCC, class rosters, and on ID Cards (by request). For some other records, LCC is legally required to use a student's Legal Name. Whenever reasonably possible, a student's "Chosen Name" is used.
Employees of LCC may request this option via Human Resources
Limitations of Chosen Name
A Chosen Name is the name students have chosen to use within the LCC campus community. When not on campus, students who have elected a Chosen Name on their ID card are cautioned that their campus ID should not be viewed as official identification. Students who are U.S. citizens are encouraged to have official identification (such as a driver's license or social security card) if they need to officially identify themselves.
- Students who are foreign nationals are required to carry and use their passport and current I-94 for identification as well as evidence of valid immigration sponsorship such as valid Form I-20 or DS-2019, I-797, admission and visa stamps.
- U.S. Permanent Residents are required to carry their U.S. Permanent Resident card.
Students Legal Name will remain on their official transcript. After graduation, withdrawal, or separation, whichever name is on the transcript remains permanently as the transcript name with certain exceptions.
- Students who are not U.S. citizens are cautioned that transcript names which differ from official passport names could result in government requests for additional evidence or possibly denial of certain benefits such as applications for work authorization.
- For foreign nationals, this could result in government requests for additional evidence or possibly denial of certain benefits such as applications for work authorization, petitions for change of status e.g. H-1B as all documents should match for purposes of government applications, benefits, admission to the U.S. etc.
Chosen Name vs. Legal Name
The Preferred/Chosen Name replaces the Legal Name in multiple administrative areas, each of which has systems that source their data from Banner. This includes the following areas with dates when these will be available to students and employees:
- ID Card* (individual must request preferred/chosen name on i.d. at time of creation by going to the LCC Police Department prior to Star Card printing)
- Class Rosters
- Desire to Learn (D2L)
- Photo Rosters
- LCC email (For individuals display name, outlook name, and directory search but email will still show username component. E.g. Laura Williams changes name to Tyler Tads email will still show email@example.com unless name is legally changed)
- Public Directory, unless a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information has been requested.
- Grade Submission Reports
- Degree audit reports (Currently first name changed only)
- Web Snapshot
- Graduation Application
- Use of Legal Name is required for certain offices that perform administrative processes
which legally necessitate the use of a Legal Name. These include:
- Office of Visa and Immigration Services (OVIS)
- Campus Billing and some StarCard Services
- Financial Aid
- Office of Institutional Research
- Registrars' Offices
- Safety and Security
- Human Resources/ Student Employment Office
- Accounts Payable
Administrators in the above offices have access to lookup both Chosen and Legal names.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) a student's name, including one's Chosen Name, may be disclosed to the public as "directory information" unless the student opts not to permit such disclosure by completing a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information.
- Agender = A term which can be literally translated as 'without gender'. It can be seen either as a non-binary gender identity or as a statement of not having a gender identity.
- Androgyne = Androgynes have a gender which is simultaneously feminine and masculine, although not necessarily in equal amounts.
- Dead name or Birth name = A birth name is the name a person was given at birth. If that name is changed your birth name is then called a dead name and calling a person by that name is called "dead naming"
- Demigender = A gender identity that involves feeling a partial, but not a full, connection to a gender identity or just to the concept of gender.
- Genderqueer = An umbrella term with a similar meaning to non-binary. It can be used to describe any gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary. The term Queer is sometimes substituted for Genderqueer.
- Man = A gender identity which is part of the gender binary. Man is a term used for adults and corresponds to the terms boy (for children), male (adjective) and masculinity.
- Non-binary = Any gender expression that does not constantly sit within the M/F or Intersex identity. Non binary people may express a combination of masculinity, femininity, or neither.
- Questioning = A term used to describe anyone who is in the process of deciding which gender identity suits them best.
- Trans man = Trans men were assigned female at birth, but their gender identity is male.
- Trans woman = Trans women were assigned male at birth, but their gender identity is female.
- Woman = A gender identity which is part of the gender binary. Woman is a term used for adults and corresponds to the term's girl (for children and adolescents), female (adjective) and femininity.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Preferred or Chosen Name?
Preferred or Chosen Names A Preferred/Chosen Name is the name an individual at LCC (employee or student) wishes to be known by in the community. A Preferred/Chosen name differs from the individuals legal first name and is not meant to be used to record a nickname (e.g. Becky for Rebecca). LCC's policy covers Preferred/Chosen First Name. Surnames can be changed only through a legal name change.
What is a Legal Name?
Legal Name A Legal Name is the name that appears on an individual's passport, driver's license, state identification (i.d.), birth certificate, or U.S. Social Security Card.
How many times may I change my preferred or chosen name?
We ask that you limit your name change to once an academic year.
The processes related to changing your name are complex and time consuming. We realize that some individuals may not realize their preferred or chosen name the first time through the process and we support your right to be identified by your preferred name.
Who can elect to use a Chosen Name?
Anyone at Lansing Community College, employees and students.
Do I Need to Provide Any Documentation Before I Elect a Chosen Name Or Identity?
No, you will need to fill out forms with you preferred or chosen name or identity. LCC is working to incorporate your preferred identities throughout the campus systems.
Do I Have to Use a Chosen Name?
No, it is up to each individual to elect to use a preferred or chosen name.
Are Individuals Required to Get a New ID/Star Card If They Elect A Chosen Name?
No, individuals may keep their current ID or Star Card for as long as they desire. If you wish to have a new Star Card printed, please go to the LCC Police Department office and request a new Star Card with your Chosen or Preferred name.
What are Chosen Pronouns?
Chosen Pronouns and their proper usage provide a clear indication of your intention to be accepting, courteous, and respectful in identifying individuals in a way that is consistent to who they are. The most commonly used pronouns are listed below and is not meant to be an exhaustive list. You may access more resources by visiting the Understanding Pronouns website, or NPR's Guide to Understanding Gender Identity Terms.
|He/Him||You already know this one!||His, Himself|
|She/Her||You already know this one!||Hers, Herself|
|They/Them||Yes, it's okay to use this referring to a singular person!||Theirs, themself|
|Ze (or Zie)||Zee (like "see" with a "Z").||Can also be spelled as xe|
|Name||Whatever their name is!||Some people do not want to use pronouns at all and will ask you to refer to them by their name alone.|
Is a Chosen or Preferred Name the Same as a Nickname/Alias?
No, a Chosen and/or Preferred name are different name types from verbal nicknames. Opting to use a chosen or preferred name will not impact your verbal or unofficial nickname if you have one.
What If I Forget or Make a Mistake Mis-Naming or Mis-Pronouning someone?
- Accept and acknowledge the mistake.
- Apologize and correctly identify the individual, even if that individual is not present.
- Practice correctly naming and pronouning the individual until it is habitually done correctly.
- Remember that learning an individual's name and their pronouns are important because our identities based in words matter
How to support students and staff
At Lansing Community College individuals interested in learning more about diverse cultures and identities are encouraged to contact the Centre for Engaged Inclusion where you may enroll in various trainings, achieve various credentials, and engage with the campus and community.
Here are suggestions to make your classroom and/or workspace more trans-friendly and inclusive:
To support everyone on LCC's campus we need to:
- Prioritize Student Autonomy
- Ask Once
- Respect Student Privacy
1. Prioritize Student Autonomy
If a student has identified a name for themselves that is different than their legal name, it is important for administrators to allow them the autonomy, as adults, to determine how they should be represented. This means that we should make every effort to ensure only their chosen name appears on both records and technology – especially any information that students or others outside of Lansing Community College will see. Therefore, providing the student's legal name on documents with their chosen name in parentheses behind it is not an effective solution.
Not only is using the chosen name supportive of the student, but according to Lambda Legal, it is also protecting private student records under FERPA. Providing this autonomy to students over their names can lead to inconveniences for administrators, but there are also ways to strategically use technology to minimize those inconveniences. For example, numeric usernames and identifiers are static, unchanging, and just as easy to use to look up a student or compare records across systems as a name or email field might be – if not more. Depending on how the system's search functions are configured, it may also be possible to search for students by their legal names while also keeping them hidden from display, further easing this dilemma.
2. Ask Once
Some campuses have begun streamlining the name change process so that students can visit an easily discoverable webpage, change their name, and not need to update their record anywhere else. Accomplishing this necessitates that the campus streamline all name records to be updated through a student information system on an automated basis
3. Respect Student Privacy
For many students who pursue a name change, privacy is non-negotiable. Hearing a "birth" or legal name is not just distressful to the student, but it can lead to bullying from peers. Additionally, college is when a student begins to develop their professional branding and identity – associating the student's academic and student involvement records with a name they no longer use can prove challenging later in life, especially for those with high profile student activities such as athletics. Access to legal name should be restricted on an absolute need-to-know basis for employees who are trained in respecting student name and gender privacy.
There are many reasons a student may not want to update their campus records, especially if their family is not aware of their name change.
Names hold power. Together, we can support students in owning that power as part of their individual identity development. Respecting student privacy and autonomy can only support students in growing to be their fullest selves.
This policy applies to all students, faculty and staff, and it provides support for any of our LCC community members who may decide to identify by preferred/chosen name. Chosen names are names that an individual wants to be known by or identifies with in the Lansing College community and may be different from the individual's official name of record. The policy allows all members of the LCC Community to identify and use a gender identity instead of, or in addition to, their sex where possible. A person's chosen name and gender identity pronouns should be used whenever possible. Chosen names will appear in all College systems where available and technically feasible (e.g., class rosters, grade rosters, etc.) and also can include the use of chosen names in conversation, email communication or formal settings. The non-binary options found in the policy also are used by entities with which the College interacts. Examples include College Board, Educational Testing Service and other common/national applications, as well as some states that also have non-binary gender values available for selection. Instituting these policies also ensures we align with shifts in the educational ecosystem and stay ahead of advancements in equity.
There are a few notable exceptions to this policy:
- Prospective students and employees will be required to provide their full legal name when they apply for admission or employment with the College.
- Chosen names should not be used for the purpose of misrepresentation, avoiding legal obligations or in any way that violates LCC policies or federal, state or local laws.
- Chosen names that are not possible to implement (names with symbols or images) are prohibited.
There may be instances where the approach, timeline or participants vary for implementation.
With this new initiative, Lansing Community College not only acknowledges all gender identities but also establishes norms of respect between students, staff and faculty. It also shows LCC's commitment to equity and inclusion. We encourage you to share information about the Preferred and Chose
Additional information for Higher Ed leaders who want to support trans* individuals from Nicolazzo Z
For higher ed leaders who want to support transgender students on their campuses, Nicolazzo recommends several strategies to help create a welcoming environment.
1: Recognize the power of a name. Transgender students report discomfort when faculty use their legal name instead of their preferred name. And because it can be difficult for students to change their name within the institution, allowing students to name themselves within the classroom can have a big impact, writes Nicolazzo. Nicolazzo recommends asking students if there are any discrepancies between the names on the roster and the names students use—especially before calling roll.
2: Use student-specified pronouns. Assure students they can use the pronouns they feel most comfortable with in your class, writes Nicolazzo. And let students know if there are ways to make name or pronoun changes administratively.
3: Consider the necessity of transgender-inclusive facilities. Transgender students ranked gender-neutral restrooms as the most important resource on campus in a survey by Clark University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. So Nicolazzo suggests that professors "demand to [teach] only in buildings with transgender-inclusive restrooms." If that's not possible, Nicolazzo recommends listing the closest gender-neutral restrooms on the syllabus.
4: Pull from transgender resources. When compiling course texts and creating your syllabus, be sure to include transgender voices. "Even if your class is not focused on gender, it's still important to draw on diverse knowledge bases, which includes transgender communities," writes Nicolazzo.
5: Educate yourself. "Don't expect transgender students to teach you about all things transgender," writes Nicolazzo. It can be exhausting for your transgender students. Plus, there is a wealth of information out there about the transgender experience.
6: Protect your students' safety and privacy. Just because a student discloses their gender identity to you doesn't mean you should talk about or share that information with others, Nicolazzo points out. "Being out is not always the safest or best option for them." And if you notice transphobia or hear transphobic comments in or outside the classroom, say something, writes Nicolazzo. "Educators need to create classrooms where those sorts of violent statements are not tolerated." After all, when transgender students experience harassment, they often leave college.
7: Remember that transgender students are more than their gender identity. "Remember not to flatten us to our gender, as this becomes exhausting and limits our possibilities," writes Nicolazzo. Engage with students around their other interests and experiences.
8: Be patient with yourself. Commit to "learning and implementing gender-aware practices," writes Nicolazzo. But recognize that unlearning gender socialization takes time. And if you make a mistake, own up: "Owning those mistakes and then not making them again is essential," notes Nicolazzo.
Sources: Green et al., New York Times, 10/21/18; Nicolazzo, Inside Higher Ed, 10/12/18; Jashik, Inside Higher Ed, 10/22/18
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS AND CHOSEN NAME
"Many International Students Utilize English Names" - Purdue Exponent
SUPPORTING TRANS AND NONBINARY SUCCESS
Supporting Trans and Nonbinary Community Success in Higher Education: A New Paradigm - American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
Real stories from Transgender students on campus - American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
List of scholarly articles on transgender students in higher education - Google Scholar
Gender Identity Expression - American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
"The overriding principle is to treat people with respect. That usually means giving them the title they themselves adopt.” - Stevent Petrow, The Washington Post, 2014. "When They Doesn't Identify as Either Male or Female"
Merriam-Webster Adds non-binary pronoun 'they' to dictionary (Washington Post)
Definition of a pronoun (Merriam-Webster online dictionary); note: pronouns are distinct from titles and forms of address.
Merriam-Webster dictionary entry: 'they'
Guide writing gender-neutral correspondence (Canadian Translation Bureau)