NYC Students Now Have Option to Change Their Name, Gender, Without Legal Documentation

Starting with the upcoming school year, students attending New York City public schools are no longer required to show any legal documents in order to change their name and/or gender on their permanent school records, according to a press release from the NYC Department of Education. Chancellor Richard Carranza made this announcement on June 28 in an effort to provide the “most comprehensive and affirming” guidelines to support transgender and “gender expansive” students. While the new rule still requires students to obtain permission from their parent or guardian before they make any changes, Carranza said that this regulation aims to, ”ensure that students’ identities are affirmed, respected, and supported in schools.”

These rules are intended to protect students of New York City from the “increasing attack by the federal government,” according to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray.

“New York City is proud to be leading on policies that allow New Yorkers across the gender spectrum to be themselves in every single area of their lives, especially our schools.” McCray said.

“Students need to be accepted and supported regardless of gender identity,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “This policy does that. I thank Chancellor Carranza for his support of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

“Schools are safe havens for students to develop their passions and discover their true identities, and these new guidelines celebrate and affirm all students,” Carranza said. “This Pride Month, I’m thrilled to send a clear message to our students—we celebrate you, we respect you, and we support you.”

Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, students will be able to change their gender marker and or name with a parent/guardian’s permission by submitting a signed Name and Gender Change Request Form to their school’s accounting secretary or principal’s designee. These name/gender changes will be included on permanent records such as report cards, diplomas, and ATS enrollment data.

The press statement also released a set of guidelines on how to support transgender and gender expansive students.

“Schools must be proactive in creating a culture and practices that respect and value all students and foster understanding of gender identity and expression within the school community,” The guidelines state. “Creating such an inclusive culture will greatly affect what research shows: that transgender and gender expansive students are at higher risk for being marginalized, victimized, or bullied. An inclusive environment will mitigate the bias, misunderstanding, and/or a lack of knowledge about transgender and gender expansive student’s experiences.”