UC President Michael Drake announces policy on gender recognition, lived name

Photo of a row of transgender flags
Ted Eytan/Creative Commons
According to a policy announcement from UC President Michael Drake, measures across all UC campuses and facilities will be implemented to ensure accurate identification of individuals by their gender and lived or preferred name. The measures are required to be fully implemented by Dec. 31, 2023. (Photo by Ted Eytan under CC BY-SA 2.0)

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UC President Michael Drake announced a presidential policy Monday to ensure that all individuals across the UC system are accurately identified by their gender and lived or preferred name.

Starting Nov. 6, all UC campuses and facilities will be required to provide at least three “equally recognized” gender options in their information systems — woman, man and nonbinary — as well as an “efficient” process for individuals to state their preferred gender designations and lived or preferred names instead of legal names on university-issued documents, according to the policy.

“This policy underscores UC’s commitment to reflect California’s dynamic demographics and individuality,” said UC Board of Regents chair John Pérez in an email. “As the state’s third largest employer, UC’s recognition of nonbinary gender identities and lived names supports broader transgender rights, which has been a long time coming for California and the nation.”

Full implementation of the policy and procedures will be required by Dec. 31, 2023.

Billy Curtis, UC Berkeley Gender Equity Resource Center director, and nine other LGBTQ+ resource center directors across the UC campuses have worked closely with the UC Office of the President for more than a year to create the policy.

According to Curtis, the policy allows for a “seamless” implementation of SB 179 — known as the Gender Recognition Act — which required the state of California to recognize nonbinary as a gender designation on state documents.

The UC regents approved the bill in May 2019 after the Academic Senate, UC San Diego LGBT Resource Center director Shaun Travers and UC students advocated for more gender inclusion across the UC system in a presentation before the board, according to Curtis.

“Even after SB 179 passed, campuses were not able to fully implement it without guidance,” Curtis said. “This policy provides that uniform guidance to our Berkeley campus and all UCs in terms of how to create a space of gender inclusion that recognizes the full humanity of trans and nonbinary folks.”

Steps toward that inclusion include allowing individuals to change their names on UC identification cards and diplomas, Curtis added.

In light of Drake’s announcement, Jess Parker of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the LGBTQ Communities at UC Berkeley said the policy changes were “small steps” toward gender inclusion in the UC system during a town hall hosted by several UC Berkeley LGBTQ+ organizations Thursday.

“You might still see some othering language within the policy, but it is more inclusive. It’s required to be more inclusive than it used to be, and we’ll keep fighting to get this policy updated in the future,” Parker said at the town hall.

Contact Annika Kim Constantino at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaKimC.