Students have the option to change their name to a preferred name

Story by Sabrina Picou Photo Illustration by Alyssa Vega

Photo illustration.

Just over a week prior to the news that the Trump administration is considering changing the classification of gender to be based on genitalia at birth LBCC issued a new policy regarding preferred name changes for students in order to provide an inclusive and non-discriminatory environment according to the campus-wide email.

All LBCC students, along with transgender and non-gender conforming students, now have the option to change their name on certain college records to a preferred name.

According to the email sent by the college, a preferred name is a first name that can be used instead of a person’s legal first name and is not being used for the purpose of misrepresentation.

The documents that can include a student’s preferred name include class rosters, student self-service, Canvas, Starfish, PeopleSoft email from instructors, and student ID cards.

Queer Space club president Larina Corbell has been putting in efforts to have the policy put into action since last year.

“Last year when I tried talking to people like people weren’t interested in a lot of resources for LGBT people and I couldn’t make the conversation happen,” said Corbell. “I think it’s kind of embarrassing that its taken Long Beach this long to get it cause it’s something that all the community colleges in Orange County have and San Diego and there’s a lot of community colleges and basically all the universities already have this process in place.”

Corbell believes the new policy is opening up the conversation and changing the campus environment.

“There wasn’t a way to have a conversation about pronouns or names and because there wasn’t a preferred name policy students were having to explain themselves so I think just by making changes here it definitely affects how students feel on campus,” said Corbell.

Member of Queer Space student AJ Johnson sees the new policy as a step forward in the right direction.

“People should have the ability to not be dead-named and dead-named being a name that is dead to that person so considering the name change policy I think it’s like really good especially because past names that people don’t want to go by anymore can bring up a lot of bad memories,” said Johnson.

The preferred name policy is inclusive of all students who would like to use the option to make the change.

“I would take advantage of it because I don’t like my name not for like anything bad but it doesn’t fit me who I am so I’m gonna do it. I don’t identify as trans but that’s the thing with the name change policy is that you don’t have to be trans to have to change your name,” said Johnson.

Prior to the Trump’s administration new consideration LBCC had already made steps prior to promote inclusivity.

“A lot of institutions in Long Beach are systemically homophobic and this one is making steps not to be,” said Corbell.

Associate Professor of Computer and Office Studies Suman Mudunuri who is also the Equity Chair of the Faculty Union Executive Board put on the “My Fullest Name” event to bring faculty together. The activity’s purpose was for the faculty to get to know each other on a deeper level that was non-threatening.

“We talked about our preferred name what’s the name that we would like to be called by, how did that happen, why do we have that name and it was really eye-opening,” said Mudunuri. “We did discuss within the activity about preferred names for our student’s because we do have a lot of transgender students on campus and calling them by the name that is officially their name on let’s say their birth certificate may not be the name they want to be called in the classroom so I think the preferred name policy is wonderful.”

According to Mudunuri many educator’s in the classroom tend to be open and liberal in their views.

“As faculty our job is to accept all students regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion and you know nobody asked to be a transgender student that wasn’t a choice that they just made that is how they feel that they are and so that’s how they want to be accepted and I think the preferred name policy is an awesome addition to unifying that group of students and making them feel more comfortable in the classroom,” said Mudunuri.

If you or someone you know are interested in switching to your preferred name visit lbcc.edu/preferredname for instructions.