Dear Professor [name],
My name is [Preferred name], and I will be attending your course [blank] on [days] at [time] this [term]. I am transgender and have not yet legally changed my name. On your roster is my legal name, [Legal name]. I would greatly appreciate it if you refer to me as [Preferred name] and use [pronouns] when referring to me. Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to starting your course next week.
Have any of y’all used something like this successfully?
My university has a system through counseling services where anyone can have their preferred name told to professors for them. I forgot to utilize this before my semester started (today) so I emailed something like this to all of my professors on Saturday night. Two of them have gotten back to me saying that it’s totally fine. So I would say yes!
Dear Professor [name],
My name is [Preferred name], and I will be attending your course [blank] on [days] at [time] this [term]. I am transgender and have not yet legally changed my name. On your roster is my legal name, [Legal name]. I would greatly appreciate it if you…
Yeah! I’ve used it all of last year and it went over really well. Everyone said they’ll do it and nearly all of them kept up on their word, and the ones who misgendered me still did so out of negligence to remember rather than spite. But they all used the correct name at least ^_^;
The year before that I went up to the professors in person and told them and it went off well I guess but by that point they already had my given name and pronouns in their heads so it was a bit more difficult for them to adjust, but it wasn’t anything /too/ bad. Id say if you have the option to, then use the email approach ahead of time so they have time to adjust.
I just wrote out my template for this term’s classes informing my professors that the name they see on their roster is not the name I go by.
I’m sharing it here in case you need some help wording yours. Just add your own information where the blanks are. Love to you for this upcoming term <3
This coming term beginning on January 6, I’m signed up to be a part of your class. I wanted to send you this email as a heads up that while my legal name on your roster should read as “___________”, I prefer to be called ‘_______’.
Being a trans student can be awkward that first week when reading out names and I’m hoping to avoid confusion by informing you of my preferred name ahead of time.
I prefer ________ pronouns (_______ work wonderfully) and will also accept the use of my name (_____) in place of pronouns if you find that easier.
I’m excited to start this term in your class and I can’t wait to start this year!
Thank you in advance,
I used a similar letter for my first three semesters, until I had legally changed my name. In retrospect, I might add a line at the end of the next-to-last paragraph to the effect of “If you do accidentally use the wrong pronouns, please don’t make a big deal out of it; just correct and move on.” I had a few well-meaning professors who went out of their way to apologize - which I appreciated - in the middle of the class discussion - which made me want to sink into a hole in the floor and cry. I don’t know if the way that I’ve worded it is very polite, though, so I don’t think I would copy this word-for-word if there is a better way to say it.
lunethefool asked realsocialskills:
…TW for CSA, abuse: I was sexually abused by my mother for years when I was a kid. She named me after her illicit lover, and I kind of hate that sometimes because that’s how she treated me too. I want to change my name, at least socially if not legally, but I don’t know how to explain the change. I’m not comfortable telling everyone the truth.
First and foremost, you don’t owe people an explanation, and you don’t have to offer one. Some people will want to ask invasive questions, but you don’t have to answer.
In my experience (as someone who’s been through a couple of name changes), people are usually much more curious about your new name than they are about your reasons for changing it. For that reason, I would suggest that you consider picking a new name that is *not* symbolically related to the abuse you experienced, or to anything else painful. I find it much more comfortable to deal with discussing my name now that I’ve changed it to something easily explained without reference to any of my painful reasons for changing it.
Also, if you coin a new word to name yourself, it will sound ethnic to people who treat folks outside their group as self-narrating zoo exhibits, and they will ask you invasive questions about your background. You might decide that’s ok with you, but it’s something to be aware of. I wasn’t really prepared for how draining that was when I had that kind of name.
If you choose a name that sounds like a hippie name, people will ask you if you had hippie parents. If you’re changing your name because of parental abuse, this might be worth avoiding.
A friend of mine once suggested this script for a man who wanted to change his name legally:
- Why do you want to change your name?
- “For spiritual reasons.”
- What are they?
- “I can’t really tell you much about that.”
This worked well for him in court. It might also work well interpersonally. I’m not sure. What works for me is to have a very short explanation, and not offer further details.
- I go by x now.
- I actually go by x now.
- I’m changing my name to x in honor of my grandfather.
- I’ve decided to go by my middle name.
- I’m using my religious name now (actual religious names have specific words used to refer to them, but I don’t know what they’re called for very many religions).
- I wanted to reconnect with my heritage, so I’m going by x now.
If you want people to stay out of it, don’t give them a way into it. It’s probably better not to tell them that you have painful history with your original name, because some people will take that as an invitation to evaluate your decision. The only way to win that game is not to play. You don’t have to discuss it with anyone. I don’t discuss my names with very many people. Push come to shove, all they really need to know is what name you prefer to be called by.