Christ Church University asked a transgender student to be ‘diagnosed’ to change their gender on student records.
Reade Mullen, 21 was asked to be medically ‘diagnosed’ with gender dysphoria in order to change their gender to ‘non-binary’.
A diagnosis for gender dysphoria requires a medical specialist and can take over a year, which trans students believe is ‘unacceptable’.
Reade said: “It’s very important to the transgender community because it means that we actually have a voice that’s not someone else’s voice.
“We can say this is my own gender without having to prove ourselves.”
The FRTV student visited iZone with a gender clinic referral letter to change their gender, but the university said that was ‘not sufficient evidence’ and ‘not satisfactory’.
Reade is currently waiting to get a diagnosis, but would prefer the university to change the handling of a student’s gender records.
Christ Church University responded to the issue. They said: “A student’s record can be changed to reflect a preferred name, title (including Mx to reflect gender neutrality), and they can also request their gender to be changed to ‘other’.
“Like other universities, Christ Church is not able to make changes that affect formal documents, such as degree certificates, without legal recognition of their chosen gender or change of name.
“However, we are planning to review our current internal system to see how we can improve the experience for our students and reflect their wishes. We would also like to work with the SU and other colleagues from our University community to develop a new transgender policy for students and staff.”
The trans community find referring to their gender as ‘other’ unacceptable and insensitive.
Reade said: “The term ‘other’ being a reference to gender can be both upsetting and invalidating as it suggests their identity is unimportant and not worth naming.”
Other UK universities including Oxford have changed their record systems so students can state that they are ‘gender fluid’.
According to Oxford University’s student records policy: “The University recognises that some students may not wish to identify as male or female and feel that they have a more fluid gender identity, either while they transition or permanently.
“The Academic Records Office a new field of Preferred Sex (female, male, indeterminate) which may be different to legal sex. The preferred sex would appear on all student accessed records.”
Reade is working with the Student Union on a motion to change the way the university’s Academic Administration records a student’s gender.
Chris Church’s Student Union president, Krum Tashev is fully supporting the motion and is positive about the changes.
He said: “In the society that we live in, we realise that sex is different than gender. So it’s important for the university, as a 21st century institution to recognise this and the freedom of identity of its students.
“Hopefully it will be a short campaign and an easy win for the students.”