Question: Hi. As a prospective student of UofG, I’ve been trying to do some research. As a trans person, I have plans on soon changing my name legally. Unfortunately, university application will be with my birth name. I notice that on the U of T website they describe ways to discreetly change my name on everything, even if it wasn’t legal quite yet. Does U of G have anything like this? Changing my name legally takes a while I know -AND the fewer issues the better. If I didn’t have to deal with a birth name come september, it would be easier. Is changing my name going to be a problem once I start university?
It is possible to have a preferred name recognized before it is legally changed at the University of Guelph, however, the process right now is a little bit bureaucratic. Some students with the same concerns have requested that the process be made simpler (more like U of T). The Center for New Students (a division of Student Life & the department OUTline is a part of) and the Human Rights and Equity Office are hoping to have some clarification within the next week or so on this particular issue. If any news should arrive on this front, a follow-up post will be added to this one.
In the mean time, the University of Guelph’s Human Rights Policy (PDF 883K) states that people have a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to not be centered out or made to feel uncomfortable because of their gender identity. If a situation is ever encountered where this is not the case, there are lots of resources on campus to help find a remedy, including the Human Rights and Equity Office, the Centre for New Students, the Student Help & Advocacy Centre (SHAC) and the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity.