The Equality Act 2010 protects trans people in gender reassignment discrimination in education services. Gender reassignment discrimination includes a university or college refusing to update a trans person’s title, name and gender on student records or refusing to re-issue qualification certificates in the new name and title. Such refusal is unlawful regardless of whether or not the trans person has a Gender Recognition Certificate. Trans people have a right to have respect shown for their new name and gender role from the start. (To apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate, a person needs to show they have already had all their documents changed over to their new name, gender and title for over two years. Therefore, the certificate and student records changes must be done first.)
Usually, trans students will change their name and title via a formal written statutory declaration of change of name. However, in Scotland more informal methods of changing name are also lawful. For example, a person is able in Scotland to simply start informally using another name instead of, or in addition to, their original name.
Some trans students may use this informal method of gradually changing name for social purposes while still keeping their birth name for some family situations. They may feel unable to consider a legal name change for fear of estrangement from a transphobic family. Others are perhaps still developing their identity and do not yet wish to permanently change their name for all purposes. These students should still be given the same level of co-operation, if they request their name to be changed on the University records, as those who have changed their name more formally. If such a student requests to change their name, a confidential discussion between the student and office should take place to clarify exactly when and where the prefered and legal names are used. This is to prevent potentially serious situations from occuring – such as inadvertent ‘outing’ to family.
This also applies to students with a non-binary gender identity who would wish to change their title, or remove it, or to simply have their first inital shown on records & ID cards. These request should be respected, as to refuse to do so would be an infringement on their dignity.