Guidelines Regarding Requests from Trans* Students

These are suggestions for students, with College faculty and staff response guidance.

Seminole State College welcomes members of the LGBT+ community to the educational programs offered at all levels. The College observes specific procedures in meeting requests from trans* students at any stage in their transition. 

The College is moving forward with using the pronouns they, them, and theirs as neutral singular or plural references, in keeping with national best practices. The College refers to the community members as LGBT+, in acknowledgment of diverse gender identities. Finally, the College regularly uses the term trans* to replace transgender, fostering inclusion of gender identities such as non-binary and gender-fluid.

Suggestions for Students

If you prefer to use a name other than your legal name:

  • Talk with, leave a sealed note for, or otherwise communicate with each instructor. State your legal name so they can find you on the roster, then request use of your preferred name whenever possible.  Note: instructors may have reason to verify the legal name at certain times.
  • A short note is preferred by instructors on busy first days of classes.
  • Be aware that the College's records will carry your legal name and gender. The College can change its records if you change name or gender pursuant to applicable law.
  • Inform each instructor of the pronouns you prefer when the instructor refers to you when speaking to others. Example: "I ask that you refer to me using the pronouns he, him, or his (or she, her, or hers, or they, them, or theirs used as a singular)". 
  • When turning in work directly (a paper, a portfolio, artwork), you may mark it with your preferred name. You must have communicated with your instructor to ensure your work receives credit under your legal name on the roster.
  • When using a learning management system such as Canvas, be aware that the College can work with you to display a preferred first name rather than the legal first name. Contact State your legal name and College ID number; request display of your preferred first name.

Use the restroom that makes you feel safe and comfortable.

  • Usually, the choice of restroom aligns with your gender identity.
  • Remember always that the Student Code of Conduct and Employee Standards for Discipline can address a student or employee who makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable based on gender identity. Be able to identify them physically or by name when you contact Campus Safety and Security and ask for a meeting in a private space to discuss any concerns about someone's behavior.
  • There is no requirement for you as a trans* individual to explain your presence in a particular restroom. It is irrelevant whether you have chosen surgical reassignment, or are in a stage of transition, or are finished with transition. It is irrelevant how you dress (or whether you conform to gender stereotypes about attire).
  • There is no requirement for you to use a single-user restroom. You may prefer it, and the College has them at Sanford/Lake Mary, Oviedo, Heathrow, and Altamonte. Anyone can use them.

Carry a photo ID in your preferred name, even if unofficial. The name and the photo may reflect your gender expression. This will improve privacy if you are asked for ID by Campus Safety and Security or authorized faculty or staff members.

Carry an updated Seminole State ID at all times on campus. It is required. If your appearance has changed significantly, you may have your photo re-taken for a new ID. Email the address on the back of the card [] from your account. State your legal name and student ID number. Request a new ID and a new photo "based on a significant change of appearance." You do not need to be any more specific. There should be no charge. You may arrange a time for this at the campus of your choice.

Re-set your account to display your preferred first name.

Present a photo ID and signature document to the Testing Center. The name must match the College’s roster, which will include your legal first name. Your appearance in the photograph should reflect your current appearance. The signature of your legal name must match the College’s records for you to proceed with testing.  When a Testing representative asks you for your name and ID, you may ask to step to a private area to present the documents and ask for use of your preferred name.

Inquire about the College's programs to meet your academic and career needs.
Example: The Career Development Center website lists resources for trans* job-seekers and employees.

College Actions (by Faculty and Staff)

If a student requests that you call them by a first name other than their legal name:

  • Respond to the student that you received their communication and will respect their request as you address them in class. Make every effort to note and use the preferred first name. The nature of the request itself is confidential.
  • When using a College-generated roster or other official document, make every effort to use the student's preferred name in settings involving other individuals. 
  • You may choose to ask students to write their preferred first name next to a roster you have printed of Last Name only.  This offers privacy for those students requesting a first name that might suggest a gender identity different from appearance.  If you call the roll in class after receiving a request for use of a preferred name, avoid disparities: if you agree to call William "Bill" then be consistent in calling Joanne "Jim" as requested.  Maintain confidentiality regarding a student's trans* status. 
  • Individuals who identify as non-binary or gender-neutral may prefer the fledgling practice of using "they" as a singular. Use this pronoun if they ask. Example: "Look, class, Terry's chemistry beaker is turning blue already. They mixed the chemicals just right!" (Remember, it took a while for the new marital-status neutral term "Ms." to catch on in the ‘70s and now it's widely used.)
  • When accepting work outside a learning management system that populates the name field automatically, accept the work under the preferred name and enter the grade under the roster name. (This system is similar to that in colleges practicing gender-neutral grading by having all work come in under the student’s ID number only. The preferred name is even easier to remember than everyone’s number.)
  • If the College changes a learning management system entry to a preferred first name, accept that entry. Match it with your roster using last name and student ID number.
  • Maintain confidentiality. The College may take this action in many situations, including protecting survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence and respecting the gender identity of students.

Accept without comment the choice of restroom made by any individual.

  • Manage student discussions of someone's restroom choice by reminding students that safety and privacy are the sole guidelines for restroom use.
  • If a student reports to you actions by another individual that made them feel unsafe or uncomfortable, Campus Safety and Security is the first and best resource. Counseling, or the Title IX Coordinator, or Human Resources, or Student Conduct may be involved, as well.
  • When involved in an opportunity to educate, convey to inquiring minds that the sex assigned at birth, gender identity, or gender expression of another individual is highly personal. It is not an appropriate subject for questioning.
  • Bring student discussion of an individual's gender expression to a halt if it is disruptive to the educational environment, or if it is perceived by the individual to create a hostile educational environment.
  • Neither encourage nor discourage anyone's use of the College's single-user restrooms. There is no requirement for trans*  individuals to use them; they are an option for anyone.

Unless you are representing the College as an individual authorized to determine identity with full legal name, accept other forms of ID that reflect a student's gender expression (appearance in photo) and preferred name.

Faculty and staff always may request that a student document the roster name, using the official Student ID, in situations dealing with College records.

Accept College IDs as valid when your role at the College calls specifically for you to evaluate the appearance in the photo against the name displayed. Otherwise, note that the appropriate identification already has been established prior to the College’s Card Services issuing the card.

ID Card Operators: As usual, verify the name and date of birth on the government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, State of Florida identification card or military ID to verify the person’s identity. Review the ID card system notes, which should indicate the student is approved for a new ID at no charge per Campus Safety and Security.

Accept emails from students who have amended their names from the conventional format.

Testing Center: match the name on the photo ID (and document containing signature) with the name on the test. This includes registration for tests other than College make-up tests.

Note that in certain situations, the personal appearance or name stated while others are nearby may not seem to match the name or photo. Request “other names used” or alternate ID in a private setting by inviting the student to "Yes, come right this way" or similar phrasing. This represents the College’s sensitivity to those who prefer to use other names, such as domestic violence survivors or trans* students, without changing the legal name.

The signature of the legal name remains an important verification step.

Encourage students to view Career Center sites on LGBT+ job-seekers and employees and to point out other areas of the College where they suggest development of other relevant services.

Equity and Diversity/Title IX, 7.11.17, updated 8.6.19, 7.27.21


Barbara Coleman-Foster
Associate Vice President, Equity and Diversity/Title IX Coordinator