Trans and gender diverse students at RMIT scored a major victory with the university allowing them to change to their chosen name.

RUSU Queer Department – the varsity’s LGBTQI student group welcomed the announcement saying it was a “big win” for trans and gender diverse students.

A Big win at RMIT for Trans and Gender Diverse students. You can now change your name at RMIT!Students can fill out…

Posted by RUSU Queer Department on Tuesday, 13 October 2020

RMIT said that students can now request to change their name as it appears on the institution’s digital and directory services, including computer sign-ons, student email IDs, all Microsoft Office and Google suite programs and the Canvas learning management system.

“RMIT is proud to support staff and students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning or asexual/agender through a whole-of-university approach,” Dene Cicci, Executive Director Students, told Star Observer.

“As part of our commitment to inclusion, RMIT has recently updated its systems to make it easier for students to be known by a preferred name that affirms their gender. Providing personalised support for trans and gender diverse students is in line with the commitments outlined in our Diversity and Inclusion Framework and Action Plan,” said Cicci.

The forms to request a change in name for students “who have chosen a name that affirms their gender, and would like to be known by this ‘known as’ name at RMIT”, is available on the university’s website.

RMIT also provides help for students who wish to legally change their name. The university said it would provide an advisor who can help the students “find the right paperwork, budget for costs involved and help [students] apply for financial support if needed.”

 There are other universities that offer options to trans and gender diverse students. The University of Melbourne allows a trans, gender diverse, or intersex student to change their gender identifiers to “trans/intersex/other”. The university said that it keeps this information private but that it is kept as a record so that the student’s details reflect their identity more accurately.

At the University of New South Wales, students over 18 can be enrolled with their preferred names. Trans and gender diverse students under 18 can change their first name if both parents consent to it. However, if either or both the parents oppose the name change, then the decision rests on the Principal who has the discretion to allow the name change after considering the best interests of the student.

“This decision should have regard to the age, capability and maturity of the student and can be informed by advice from a health care professional about the potential impact on the student’s wellbeing of declining to use and record the student’s preferred first name,” UNSW says on its website.

Melbourne-based RMIT was earlier this year named Australia’s Employer of the Year for LGBTQI inclusion.

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