Name & Gender FAQs for Students

Cypress College recognizes that a student may prefer to use a name other than their legal name. Cypress College also recognizes that a student’s gender identity may not align with their legal sex.

At Cypress College, gender identity, personal pronouns, and chosen name may be used on unofficial records and documents in situations where legal sex and legal name are not required by law or District policy.

To learn more, check out the following FAQs.

If you have any questions that are not addressed on these pages, or if you’d like to be more proactively involved LGBTQ+ work on campus, please feel free to reach out to the campus LGBTQ+ Liaison (jherman@cypresscollege.edu) any time.

How do I set my chosen/preferred name?

Do you use a name that is different from your legal first name? Do people ever refer to you using incorrect pronouns?

Many students want to be called by a name that is different from their legal first name, and some students would like people to know which personal pronouns to use for them.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email the campus LGBTQ+ Liaison, Jenelle, at jherman@cypresscollege.edu. If you don't have any questions, you can follow the steps below to update your pronouns and Chosen Name.


Pronouns

You can add your personal pronouns after your name in Canvas by clicking Account, selecting Settings, and clicking Edit Settings. Then use the drop-down menu to select the pronouns you most identify with. Be sure to click Update Settings when you are done.

Chosen Name

To update your Chosen Name, open Cypress's Personal Information Change form. Once you log in with your Banner ID and password, you will be taken to the form. Be sure to complete the following sections: Current Information Preferences (sorry, we're working to update this language), and Signature. (Do not complete Legal Change of Name without legal documentation.)


Your legal name must be used for "official" purposes, but you can use a chosen name rather than your legal name in Canvas, on teachers' rosters, and on your printed Student ID Card. Your Chosen Name might be a nickname, a shortened version of your name, your middle name, or a gender-affirming name, and it is what you want your classmates and teachers to call you.

You may only designate a chosen/preferred first name; your legal last name (surname) will remain unchanged. Your chosen name will be reviewed and processed by the Admissions and Records office. If approved, Cypress College will make every effort to use your chosen name wherever possible. However, chosen name requests will be denied if the name is used inappropriately. (For more information, you can view the District’s Administrative Procedure 5041.)

Chosen name changes are typically processed within two business days; however, it could take as long as two weeks if submitted at the beginning of a semester. Once the change is processed, it will be visible immediately on faculty rosters in myGateway and within 24 hours on Canvas. If the changes do not occur within this time frame, please reach out to the LGBTQ+ Liaison (jherman@cypresscollege.edu) immediately.

How do I change or correct my legal name?

You must supply supporting legal documentation such as court documents, passport, California ID, California driver’s license, or marriage certificate, and submit the Personal Information Change Form, as well as a copy of a photo ID, to Admissions & Records (admissions@cypresscollege.edu). You can find more about how to change your legal name in the state of California on the California Courts website.

How can I update my gender/gender identity for college records?

A student’s internal sense of being masculine, feminine, nonbinary, genderqueer, agender, etc. defines their gender and/or gender identity. A student’s gender identity may be the same as their legal sex (cisgender) or different from their legal sex (transgender, nonbinary, etc.), and their gender identity may change over time.

A student can update their gender identity by completing the Personal Information Change Form, as well as a copy of a photo ID, and submitting to Admissions & Records (admissions@cypresscollege.edu). However, this information will currently only be used for data purposes.

How can I change or correct my legal sex designation?

In the state of California, a person can designate “female,” “male,” or “nonbinary” as their legal sex. A person’s legal sex appears on their birth certificate and other government-issued identification, including a Driver’s License.

Students who wish to change their legal sex must supply supporting legal documentation and submit the Personal Information Change Form, as well as a copy of a photo ID, to Admissions & Records (admissions@cypresscollege.edu). You can find more about how to change your legal sex in the state of California on the California Courts website.

What do I do if campus employees do not use my chosen name and/or personal pronouns?

Campus employees are legally required to use each student’s chosen name and gender pronouns once they have been formally submitted (see above).

If you have done this, and campus employees are not respecting your name and/or pronouns, please be mindful that it may require some practice for some individuals, particularly if they have interacted with you by a different name and/or pronouns in the past, or if they are unfamiliar with nonbinary pronouns. It is important to Cypress College that you feel included and respected. If an individual does not seem to be making their best effort to refer to you appropriately, please use one of these options:

  1. It may be an honest mistake. If you are comfortable, communicate with the individual face-to-face or by email to let them know your chosen name and gender pronouns. If you wish, you may also choose to share a resource to help them better understand, such as mypronouns.org.

  2. If you are not comfortable communicating directly with the individual or if you have already done so and they are continuing to disrespect your identity, you can reach out to their supervisor or contact the campus LGBTQ+ Liaison.