AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin is set to implement a new policy this summer that will allow transgender students to list their preferred names on all official University records, including a name that may be different from their legal name.
Under the new policy, a student’s preferred name will appear on class rosters, identification cards, medical files and other UT records.
While transgender students were first allowed to use a preferred name on their official documents beginning last fall, this new policy will also update the preferred name to their medical records.
Patrick White, a student member of the LGBT presidential task force, said the task force plans to inform transgender students about the policy through orientation this summer and programs next fall.
The policy was initiated by the LGBT presidential task force, a committee of faculty and students who advocate for LGBT rights on campus. Transgender students were first allowed to change the name appearing on their records in September 2011, but had to personally request the change at the UT Gender and Sexuality Center.
Jeffrey Graves, associate vice president for legal affairs, told the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, that UT considered many factors before approving the policy. Graves said preferred names cannot go on diplomas or transcripts without a legal name change. He said one of the legal issues UT faced was putting preferred names on UT ID cards.
In cases such as police stops or when asked to surrender an ID card, Graves said, UT officials need to be able to confirm a student’s official name with the name on record with the University regardless of their preferred name. To address this, a student’s preferred name goes on the front of the ID card and the official name goes on the back.
“The whole point of the policy is to assist transgender students in transitioning to the University in a way that will correspond with how they live and how they identify,” Graves said.