Transition as a Cambridge Student

Your college tutorial office should act as your liaison to all other parts of the university that need to know about your change of name and gender marker. Unfortunately, they may be un- or under-informed: but this isn’t a battle you have to fight on your own. The CUSU LGBT+ Trans Rep is always available to provide help, and has had to deal with a lot of these processes personally! Other people to contact for support include your college LGBT+ rep, the CUSU Welfare Rep, and the CUSU LGBT+ Welfare Rep.

Records about you are held in a number of ways, and if you want them all to be changed reliably it’s best to chase them up individually. In all cases, start out by e-mailing your college tutorial office. It’s likely that you’ll be asked to present a deed poll or similar documentation though this is not a requirement. Here’s a list of items to consider:

  • your CamSIS (Student Information System) records need to contain the correct name, title and gender. The magic phrase to include in your e-mail is “in accordance with HESA guidance on records of trans students” – up until recently, it was policy that trans students should have the sex they were assigned at birth listed (this was only ever patchily enforced!). If you have a non-binary gender identity, as of August 1st 2012 it is possible for your gender to be recorded as “other”. These records can be changed at any time.
  • your CRSid can be changed to contain your correct initials – e-mail addresses, login details etc are all based on your initials, and if you have changed name since applying and wish your CRSid to reflect this, try to get written confirmation that your college & the university computing service have taken note of this. NB these records can be changed at any time but if you change your CRSid after arrival at Cambridge you will need to make sure all relevant departments etc are aware of the change – changing your CRSid is still possible, but is frequently a great deal of hassle.
  • your university card should have the correct name – and, if you’d like, an updated photo. Provided you do not lose your card, you can request updates at any time and be provided with a new card free of charge on handing in your old card. If you state that you are trans* they will happily update your photo, but if you don’t wish to disclose you can tell them that the photo is ‘no longer an accurate likeness’. If this isn’t done automatically get in contact with your university card rep.
  • Your CamCORS records may need to be updated to reflect any changes in name or pronouns.
  • If you wish to inform people like supervisors or tutors yourself then it is recommended that you make this clear to the college, including who and when, so that they don’t do it automatically. You should also be able to get a list of who has been told but again it is recommended that you ask for this at the outset.

Unfortunately there are some known pitfalls you might run into. We are working on developing documents containing suitable guidance for the relevant departments, but in the meantime please be aware that:

  •  your college will almost certainly wish to see a deed poll (and to keep a copy on their records) in order to request a change of name from CamSIS. This is not a requirement to get your records changed, which should be done if you state that you intend to transition. Unfortunately if you don’t give them a deed poll or similar your degree certificate will be made in your old name, as it is a legal document, but your correct name can still be read out at graduation provided you inform them of this in advance.
  • https://www.makenoassumptions.org.uk/resources has a resource on how to change your name for a degree certificate.
  • they may also ask you to provide them with a copy of your GRC – it is illegal for them to request a GRC, and is in any case irrelevant.
  •  the changes to HESA guidance regarding records of trans students are fairly recent. Your college may be either unaware or unwilling to request appropriate changes.

If any of these happens to you please contact lgbt-trans@cusu.cam.ac.uk so we can compile reports and help sort it out.

If any of these issues arise, please feel encouraged to get in touch with the people listed above! And please feel free to contact any of us in any case, just so you know there’s some friendly faces looking forward to you arriving. Other ways you can keep in touch with the community are via the various CUSU LGBT+ mailing lists for the full list; and by coming along to trans meets (check the CUSU LGBT+ Facebook page for more details!), as a safer space that’s open to everyone regardless of whether they identify with the label “trans” – the only thing we ask for is respect. You can also check out the calendar on the CUSU LGBT+ main site to see what else is going on!

See our practical information page for some more help by clicking here.

If you’re looking for a trans friendly GP in Cambridge, check this website which is dedicated to creating a database of Trans Friendly GPs across the country: http://transfigurations.org.uk/trans-friendly-doctors/ If you have any experiences to share, please add to it!