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Signed up for university

February 25, 2011

I signed up for university this week. I feel so excited!  At the place where I’ll be studying, there’s a new rule that allows trans students and workers to use their chosen names. So after enrolling with my legal name, I headed to the office for Student Well-Being to sort that out. I was unsure about what would happen: I’d heard that the administrative staff blatantly ignored trans people’s appeals.

But the staff members that I talked to were wonderful. They didn’t know how to satisfy my request –the information system hasn’t been updated to handle chosen names– but they went out of the way to find out what I should do; and, more importantly, they immediately understood the validity of my claim. I ended up leaving them a letter –formalizing my request– that they’ll send to the office for Legal Issues.

I don’t know if my name will be changed before school starts, but I trust that it will happen at some point. Knowing that, I don’t mind if I have to explain things to my professors for this semester. The rule allowing for chosen names is new, after all, and even if the practical aspects haven’t been worked out, at least the staff believe in trans rights.  The future looms bright for me and all the other trans members of my school.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might be confused because last year I also posted about starting university. I did begin last year, sort of: where I live, there’s often a transition year between secondary school and higher education, and that’s what I was doing. Now I’ll finally start studying for my chosen major.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2011 9:21 pm

    Wow, congrats GenderKid! I’m so happy for you. And I’m glad that your encounters with staff on this issue were pleasant and productive. That is SO AWESOME : )

    • genderkid permalink*
      February 25, 2011 10:32 pm

      Thank you! It’s so important to have staff support. It might be irrational of me to feel this way, but it makes the whole place seem… safer. (Not that I was concerned about my physical safety: people there tend to be open-minded and I know trans people who study there.)

      But yeah, I think I understand the meaning of “trans-friendly” better now. It’s not just about rules, because rules can only work in a receptive environment.

  2. Meike permalink
    February 26, 2011 9:42 am

    Congrats! I wish my private Lutheran college were so trans-friendly. It sounds like it’s going really well for you, and I hope that it keeps getting better and better for you!

  3. March 1, 2011 3:35 pm

    This between year for graduating secondary students before going into university…does it in any way help them decide what they need to do at university? If so, then that sounds very useful and it is too bad we don’t do that in the US….

    • genderkid permalink*
      March 1, 2011 3:57 pm

      Hmm, sort of, although it isn’t the aim. Secondary schools vary so much in educational quality that most universities require taking pre-university courses to make sure everyone’s on the same page (it’s fairer than just having a test to get in because rich, private-school kids –or kids who can afford a tutor– would have better chances than kids from poor neighborhoods). These courses can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year.

      At my particular university, you have to take a certain set of subjects in accordance to your chosen major, and many people do realize they’ve chosen the wrong field if they dislike all the subjects they’ve taken that year. But they still “lose” time because they have to do all the subjects required for their new major. In any case, students in Argentina aren’t so pressured to graduate quickly, and it can’t hurt to learn more.

    • March 1, 2011 5:13 pm

      “Secondary schools vary so much in educational quality that most universities require taking pre-university courses to make sure everyone’s on the same page…”

      Oh, I see. That is also useful…same here with there being so much variation. It is easy for people to graduate ill-prepared.

    • genderkid permalink*
      March 1, 2011 7:28 pm

      I guess education problems are similar in both our countries!

      I just wanted to add –about kids here being less pressured to graduate quickly– that it might be because most of us go to public (free) universities. It only occurred to me now that, in private schools, choosing the wrong major and having to take more classes would be costly.

    • March 1, 2011 8:37 pm

      When I was in school, I was considering a double major in what I ended up majoring in, as well as another. I would have needed at least another semester to get everything done. I was going to private school, but the costs were low for me because the school itself gave me grants, as well as a government scholarship or other scholarship here and there…but all that money only applied to four years so I couldn’t stay long enough to do both; I would have had to go in debt for it if I had.

  4. March 3, 2011 4:59 pm

    Congrats on getting your name issues resolved with your new university – sometimes support can come from unexpected places. I went to a college in the US that is ranked one of the top LGBT friendly, and yet I only felt comfortable being trans once I left. Weird huh?

    Also, I cannot imagine trying this in a university in another Latin American country (namely where I’m from), so double props for that. People still get scandalized with a GSA alliance. I do think Argentina is ahead of the curve most times.

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