The University of Sussex will now accept unenrolled deed polls as proof of name change to those who wish, granting more freedom and anonymity to those in the Trans and Non-Binary communities.
Previously, students who wished to change their preferred name in the University system had to enrol.
USSU Trans and Non-Binary Student Officer, Blaike Lennon, told The Badger: “Having a deed-poll enrolled can be a very awful experience, hav(ing) to either risk your safety by publishing in a newspaper or having to stand in front of a jury to see whether you can change your name (both involve names given at birth and having to pay).”
Enrolling, however, is no longer a requirement.
USSU Welfare Officer, May Gabriel, celebrated the news on Facebook posting: “This is a battle that has been fought for quite a while and it’s a huge win for all students”.
Blaike Lennon also said, “This change is an amazing occurrence for Sussex.
“The Government and all other services accept a free unenrolled deed-poll as long as its accompanied by a birth certificate.
“This change is very important for the university to catch up with the legal rights of name changes especially for trans and non-binary people.”
A University of Sussex spokesperson said: “We have amended our policies to accept unenrolled deed polls to ensure the process of name change for trans/non-binary/intersex students is as easy as possible, as well as reducing the cost to students of administering such a change.
“At the same time, we have been careful to ensure that our updated name-change process retains its legal status.
“This decision has been taken following sector advice and after listening and responding to our students and the USSU.
“A process like this can take time, to ensure we find the best way forward.”
This decision has come at a time close to the end of the UK Government’s open consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
The Gov.uk webpage on this open consultation states that: “Since the GRA came into force, only 4,910 people have legally changed their gender.
“This is fewer than the number of trans respondents to the government’s LGBT survey, who were clear that they wanted legal recognition but had not applied because they found the current process too bureaucratic, expensive and intrusive.”
This open consultation is due to end on October 19 2018.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons: Eviatar Bach