LMC to respect names

This semester the Contra Costa Community College District implemented a preferred name policy beneficial for all students, but designed with problems in mind that transgender individuals have had to face

The policy, which applies to all district colleges, including Los Medanos College, requires a simple preferred name request form — that has to be filled out at the admissions counter.

Transgender student Stephanie Lutz said this policy could not have come at a more perfect time because she has been trying to save money since last year to get her name legally changed.

“I was just really excited because [the policy] was coming in before classes started this semester so roll was super easy,” said Lutz. “I went into my math class and on the roll sheet it said Stephanie and I didn’t have to fuss about all my classmates knowing my birth name — and in that class we put groups together randomly based off the roll so my name is constantly on the board every class.”

Additionally, Lutz explained that her birth name feels like a weight she is dragging around with her no matter where she goes, but having the opportunity to use her preferred name at LMC “alleviates that stress of having to go back and correct [instructors] many times at the beginning of the semester.”

Speech instructor Star Steers said that she has not had a student formally make a request to use their preferred name but makes it clear with her students at the start of every semester that she wants to use whatever name they’re most comfortable with.

“I’ve stopped doing [gender specific activities] because I really do want to have an inclusive classroom and I want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and that gender presentation is never something that folks feel stressed about in my class,” said Steers. “I’m really excited that the college switched over to preferred name usage. I think it’s a great way to support our students and it’s a really easy, painless way –– with minimal work involved for [instructors] –– to make everybody feel at home in the classroom and our school.”

The policy has been a year in the makings.

In reporting the “Saying the right name” story published in the Feb. 26, 2016 issue of the Experience, Director of Admissions & Records Robin Armour explained, at the time, that district IT would have to program a way for admissions to change the name information on a class roster. The process took time because it was necessary to test the change to see how it worked out before it was finalized.

In addition, all district colleges must weigh in on new policies.

“When we initiate a change district-wide, we have to have each college agree to everything. So, that’s why it takes so long sometimes to get something done,” said Armour adding that the district also had to research what documentation was needed from students regarding their birth name and preferred name.

She explained that the last thing the district did was perfect the paperwork and get the procedure down for how each campus was going to do it and this semester, the district was finally ready to implement the new process.

“Students have been asking for this for years but we didn’t have a process set in place and to be inclusive of everyone, which is our goal, we wanted to make sure we had everything detailed-out.”

For more information or if you have questions about the new preferred name policy, stop by the Admissions & Records Office located in the Student Services Center, room SS-301. You may also email the office at [email protected]