Name and Gender FAQs for Students


Your chosen name will appear everywhere within Canvas, on Faculty Rosters within myGateway, and on your Student ID card. We are currently in the process of updating other software applications used throughout the college to show your chosen name rather than your legal name whenever possible. Your legal name will be used on every other document, both for legal purposes and privacy reasons. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions about the use of chosen names and legal names, please contact the campus LGBTQ+ Liaison.

What is the District’s official policy on names and gender?

On November 25, 2020, the North Orange County Community College District approved a new policy regarding students’ names and pronouns. Open AP 5041 for more details.

How do I set my chosen/preferred name?

Any student can designate a chosen/preferred name by submitting the Personal Information Change Form.

You may only designate a chosen/preferred first name; your legal last name (surname) will remain unchanged. Your chosen name will be reviewed and processed by the Admissions and Records office. If approved, Cypress College will make every effort to use your chosen name wherever possible. However, chosen name requests will be denied if the name is used inappropriately. (For more information, you can view the District’s Administrative Procedure 5041.) Chosen name changes are typically processed within two business days; however, it could take as much as two weeks if submitted at the beginning of the semester. Once they are processed, they will be immediately visible on faculty rosters in myGateway. It may take an additional two business days to be visible in Canvas. Chosen names will also appear on Student ID cards.

Where will my gender, pronouns, and preferred/chosen name be used?

Every effort must be made by District employees to use your gender, pronouns, and chosen name as declared (on the Personal Information Change Form and within Canvas) in every context within the District, including face-to-face, electronic, and print interactions, except where legally required to use the legal name and sex.

  • Your gender identity will be used only for data reporting purposes.
  • Your personal pronouns will currently only be visible in Canvas.
  • Your chosen name will appear everywhere within Canvas and on Faculty Rosters within myGateway. We are currently in the process of updating other software applications used throughout the college to show your chosen name rather than your legal name whenever possible. Your legal name will be used on every other document, both for legal purposes and privacy reasons. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions about the use of chosen names and legal names, please contact the campus LGBTQ+ Liaison.

How do I change or correct my legal name?

You must supply supporting legal documentation such as court documents, passport, California ID, California driver’s license, or marriage certificate, and submit the Personal Information Change Form. You can find more about how to change your legal name in the state of California on the California Courts website.

How can I update my personal pronouns?

A student’s personal pronouns are words used for a student in place of their proper name. Some examples include “she/her,” “he/him,” “ze/hir,” “they/them,” or other pronouns. Some students may use specific pronouns, multiple pronouns, or no pronouns.

Currently, personal pronouns only appear in Canvas. If you wish to add/change your pronouns in Canvas, please log on to Canvas. Click “Account” (top left), select “Settings,” and click the “Edit Settings” button. A drop-down menu will appear next to “Pronouns.” Be sure to click the “Update Settings” button. As soon as you have done this, your pronouns should appear in parentheses after your name everywhere your name appears in Canvas.

How can I update my gender/gender identity for college records?

A student’s internal sense of being masculine, feminine, nonbinary, genderqueer, agender, etc. defines their gender and/or gender identity. A student’s gender identity may be the same as their legal sex (cisgender) or different from their legal sex (transgender, nonbinary, etc.), and their gender identity may change over time.

A student can update their gender identity by completing the Personal Information Change Form. However, this information will currently only be used for data purposes.

How can I change or correct my legal sex designation?

In the state of California, a person can designate “female,” “male,” or “nonbinary” as their legal sex. A person’s legal sex appears on their birth certificate and other government-issued identification, including a driver’s license.

Students who wish to change their legal sex must supply supporting legal documentation and submit the Personal Information Change Form. You can find more about how to change your legal sex in the state of California on the California Courts website.

What do I do if campus employees do not use my chosen name and/or personal pronouns?

Campus employees are legally required to use each student’s chosen name and gender pronouns once they have been formally submitted (see above).

If you have done this, and campus employees are not respecting your name and/or pronouns, please be mindful that it may require some practice for some individuals, particularly if they have interacted with you by a different name and/or pronouns in the past, or if they are unfamiliar with nonbinary pronouns. It is important to Cypress College that you feel included and respected. If an individual does not seem to be making their best effort to refer to you appropriately, please use one of these options:

  1. It may be an honest mistake. If you are comfortable, communicate with the individual face-to-face or by email to let them know your chosen name and gender pronouns. If you wish, you may also choose to share a resource to help them better understand, such as mypronouns.org.
  2. If you are not comfortable communicating directly with the individual or if you have already done so and they are continuing to disrespect your identity, you can reach out to their supervisor or contact the campus LGBTQ+ Liaison.

How can I legally change my name and gender markers?

To legally change your name and gender markers, you must follow the legal process for the state you live in. The National Center for Transgender Equality has information for each state as well as for federal documents. If you open the link and scroll down, you should find information relevant for California residents.