I’m FTM transgender and will be moving into female dorms under my former name in the fall, and I’m not sure how to make friends before I go into Guelph, or how to inform my professors about my name change.
Do you have any suggestions?
My therapist reccommended I join Guelph’s Facebook groups.
To begin, I’m so happy you chose the University of Guelph and that you’re already taking the initiative to reach out and develop those supports you need to make your time here the best it can be! It sounds like you’re just as excited to come and meet friends as we are to have you.
Before I answer your question, I just first want to establish that you are able to live in whatever type of dorm you’d like: there is an all-female one or co-ed. Within co-ed dorms, many have gender-designated floors or sections. For everyone reading, know that you can apply to residence with your chosen name and gender, and only need to mention that you’re trans if you feel it’s best for the Student Housing Services staff to know. If you’d like to be in a single room for this reason, you can fill out a Special Consideration Form to privately let the staff know why this type of room would be best for you. The Form asks for the written support of a ‘professional’ in some cases, but know that you are not required to attain this; the staff will contact you if they need more information or clarification. You can have your therapist complete the section if you’d like, but know that some of the language in the Form can be upsetting, since it’s mostly directed at the consideration of ‘diagnoses and conditions’ – neither of which are fitting in this case. We hope this won’t deter you from asking for what you need though. You can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like some inside assistance in liaising with Housing staff.
However, I do understand that, in your case for example, you may want to live in the all-female dorm or on a female floor. You may feel safer in these spaces, or have familial, cultural, or religious factors to consider in not outing yourself by choosing a male space. Whatever you choose, know that there is no wrong decision, and we’ll do our utmost to support whatever is best for you.
Now, onto your questions!
Social media is a great way to meet fellow incoming UoG students before you even arrive – your therapist was right! Once summer comes, you will receive an email about STARTonline, the University’s summer transition program. Part of this program involves academic and special interest groups; one of these special interest groups is for LGBTQ2IA+ incoming students. As last year’s Online Group Leader for this group, I encourage you to join! It’s a great way to meet other students within the community, as well as learn about resources and groups on campus and in Guelph that may be of interest. STARTonline also offers residence-specific groups so you can meet those folks before arriving too. STARTonline will definitely be a great starting point for engaging in all forms of social media for new UoG students.
While you’re waiting for summer, you can always check out these Facebook pages of LGBTQ2IA+-focused groups at/in Guelph:
- OUTline (us!), the University’s support resource for all things sexual orientation and gender identity
- Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment & Diversity (GRCGED)
- Guelph Queer Equality (GQE), a student group aimed at creating safer LGBTQ2IA+ social opportunities
- The paTio, a community group for trans and genderqueer folks
- Out on the Shelf (OOTS), a community library and social space for LGBTQ2IA+ folks; they also run Guelph Pride
- HIV/AIDS Resources & Community Health (ARCH) has a clinic which offers great trans healthcare
- Gender Intersect is a monthly meet-up for trans and non-binary folks in the community
You can change your first name by completing the following form:
To submit by mail: mail this form to Registrarial Services, 3rd floor, University Centre, University of Guelph, Guelph, ONT N1G 2W1.
To submit in person: bring this form together with acceptable photo ID to Registrarial Services, 3rd floor, University Centre, University of Guelph.
* Note that if you are under 18 years of age, you will also need to submit the Parent Consent Form.
Completion of this form will change your given name for University of Guelph Records (student card, class lists, student directories, transcripts, degrees and scholarship information) as well as future correspondence to you or about you with external parties. External institutions including but not limited to OSAP, banks, RESP providers, potential employers, other universities, passports, police records check (required for some courses and student placements), Revenue Canada (Income tax receipts) and student health insurance providers may not accept or recognize the new preferred given name. They also warn that inconsistency between the preferred given name used by the University and the given name used by external organizations may cause unexpected difficulty. If you do experience any difficulties, we’d be glad to help you navigate them.
Another thing to note is that the University will change a student’s given name using this option only once. If a student has already changed their given name and wishes to change it again, the only option is to revert back to the original given name.
If you do not want mail with this changed name to be mailed to your parent/guardian’s house, you should also complete a change of address form to bring with you to Registrarial Services.
Finally, if you do not wish to have your name changed for all the aforementioned records, you can email each of your professors before the start of classes to inform them of the name you use, and all professors should be accommodating. This will mean, however, that on class lists, seen by all students, your former name will appear, as well as on your course home website and email.
If you have any more questions about residence, meeting people, or name changes, feel free to ask us either here, via our real-time online chat 5-10 pm, or by emailing email@example.com.
Thanks again, and we hope you enjoy Gryphonhood!