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 Detailed guidance has been produced for students changing their gender while studying here at UCL. This page highlights some of the initial information you might want to have when you are thinking about changing your gender, are in the process of doing so or have previously done so.

When someone’s experience of their own gender is different to the sex they were said to be at birth, they might choose to change their circumstances to match their gender. This might involve living as a woman, living as a man, or living with another experience of gender. This process is known as transition. The person might describe themselves as a trans person.

If you would like to learn more about trans students and gender, visit transstudent.org.

UCL is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming community where all students are enabled to meet their full potential and are respected as individuals. 

Providing Support 

Contact Student Support and Wellbeing via AskUCL to access support from designated staff, experienced in providing practical support on transitioning to students at the University.

All queries will be dealt with sensitively and confidentially. No action will be taken at any point without the student’s permission. Student Support and Wellbeing can help the student write an action  plan, if required, to coordinate the process of transition with the necessary divisions  within UCL’s Student and Registry Services and also with relevant academic and departmental staff.

In addition, there are other sources of support available. Student’s Union UCL has a LGBT+ Students’ Network who can help trans students and also students who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or any other gender/sexual minority including but not limited to Asexual, Queer and Intersex who can be contacted on [email protected] or [email protected].

UCL’s Student Psychological Counselling Services have counsellors who are trained on transgender issues  but they are also available to speak to trans students about non-gender-related issues. Students’ Union UCL Advice Service is also able to offer wide- ranging practical advice.

Updating Student Records 

Student Support and Wellbeing staff will be able to assist a trans student  with the procedure for updating their student records and UCL Student ID Card if they intend to change their name, whether this is a legal name change or not.

Departments often hold their own systems and databases as well, and these will not automatically be reconfigured to show the name change. Consideration of how autonomously held departmental records will be updated can be incorporated into the student’s transition action plan i.e. who in the department should be informed of the name change, when they should be informed and by whom.

Students should be aware that unless they have changed their name legally they will still be officially enrolled at UCL under their legal name and that degree certificates  can also only be issued in the student’s legal name. Students who do change their name legally can have all of their records and documents formally updated. Proof of the name change will be required.

International Students 

International students that live in the UK are still able to obtain a deed poll or ’statutory declaration of name change’ to update records held by UK institutions (including UCL and the UK Border Agency) but to update records held in their country of origin , such as passports, international students will have to follow their own country’s procedure. The appropriate Embassy or High Commission may be able to provide further advice on how individuals can change their names.

Students with Tier 4 visas are required to report a legal name change to the UK Visa and Immigration authorities.

The Students’ Union UCL Advice Service will also advise international  students on these matters as much as their expertise permits.

Students' Union UCL Membership

All students who attend UCL are automatically registered as a member of Students’ Union UCL, the representative organisation of students. UCL’s data is shared with the Union, therefore any amendments that are made to the records held by Portico will automatically update the records held by Students’ Union UCL. In some circumstances this can initiate an additional membership registration, rather than a straight forward replacement of the data.

You can override your name on our website following our guide on changing your name on the Union website. You can also provide your pronouns via the same process.

However, it may also be advisable for the student to notify the Students’ Union directly of the name change. The appropriate person to notify is the Policy, Governance and Insight Manager and they can be contacted at [email protected].

While it is possible to update the Students’ Union’s centrally held records, there are a large number of devolved activities, for example clubs and societies are likely to have their own mailing lists. If a student wishing to change their name is a member of a specific club or society, the onus is on them to contact the relevant secretary or president to request that their information is changed.

Names on Official Documents

UCL graduates can request to have their degree certificate reissued in a different name by contacting the Director of Student Support and Wellbeing.

Graduates can also request references in their new name but will need to contact their former department directly and send proof of the name change.

Communicating with Others

You may want to tell your fellow students about your transition, although you are not obliged to do so. You can do this yourself or support can be provided by UCL in telling people. See the detailed guidance for further information. 

Bullying and Harassment

Trans students have the right to study and socialise in an environment that is free from bullying or harassment. Any staff member or student who is accused of this will be investigated and potentially be subject to disciplinary action. Harassment does not have to include overtly unpleasant words or actions. Examples of other behaviours that could be considered harassment include: 

  • gossiping about a trans person
  • ignoring an individual 
  • passing judgment about how ‘convincing’ a trans person is in their acquired gender 
  • refusing to address the person in their acquired gender or new name 
  • purposefully disclosing confidential information 

Privacy Rights

Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, gives extended privacy rights to anyone who has a GRC or has applied for one. Knowledge about gender recognition is protected information and it is a criminal offence to pass it on without the trans person’s consent. This applies to anyone in the course of official duties including employment, service provision (including education), union organisation or representation.

It means that if a member of staff or fellow student informs anyone that a student ‘used to be a man/woman’ or ‘had a sex change’ then they are at risk of prosecution. It is imperative that anyone who may acquire such knowledge understands this.

People have no obligation to disclose whether they have a GRC. UCL will always strive to afford maximum confidentially to all trans students regardless of whether they have one or not.

Records that refer to a previous name/gender will be destroyed. If they must be kept and cannot be updated, their security will be ensured. If information needs to be passed on, Student Records or departmental staff must agree this on a case- by-case with the student, preferably in writing.

Documents Outside UCL

You may wish to alter the name, gender marker and photograph on documents such as your passport and drivers’ license.

In order to apply for a new UK driver’s license, you will require a document of name change. A letter from a medical professional may be useful to support your application, as may a cover letter explicitly stating that you wish to change the gendered number on your license.

In order to apply for a new UK passport, you will require a document of name change and a letter from a medical professional, stating that you are undergoing transition and that this transition is permanent. This medical professional may be a GP and does not need to be any form of gender specialist. Some GPs will charge for this service, but if you are receiving care in the private sector, a private doctor may write this letter as part of their standard appointment fee.

Medical Transition

It is possible to medically transition entirely on the NHS, entirely in the private sector, or by combining services provided by the two. A student must not be assumed to be able to access any of these paths and must be supported in whatever path they choose.

NHS Transition 

If you would like to transition on the NHS, or are questioning your identity and would like to access gender counselling, the first step is to see your GP to request a referral to a gender identity clinic (GC). As a UCL student, you will access Charing Cross GIC.

It is important to note that it is not up to your GP to assess you for gender identity disorder, transsexualism, gender dysphoria, or any related diagnosis. They simply act to refer you onwards to appropriate services. Your GP cannot refuse to refer you to a GIC, regardless of their personal beliefs.

Once you have been referred to a gender identity clinic, you will be placed on their waiting list. This varies between clinics, but can be expected to be at least six months for an initial assessment, and in many cases will be longer. During this time, you will be sent a pack by the GIC to check that you still require their services, which you should fill in and return as quickly as possible. You will then receive a letter with the date and time of your first appointment. 

It may help to:
•    call the GIC to check that you have been referred to them, 
•    call the GIC every few months in the waiting list;
•    send any paperwork back to the GIC using recorded delivery, to ensure its receipt.

Many people are referred to GICs without a clear idea of their gender identity or the steps they might like to take, while others arrive at GICs having begun social transition and already decided a hormonal and surgical pathway. If you know that you would like to transition, it may help to have legally changed your name at least three months before your first appointment.

At your first appointment, the clinician will discuss with you how you see your transition proceeding, and discuss with you steps you might like to take before you see the GIC again. You will require at least two GIC appointments before you are approved for hormone therapy, and more before you are approved for any surgery. If it is decided in the first appointment that hormone therapy is something you would like to pursue, you may be sent for blood tests before your second appointment.

Their phone lines are currently down (Tuesday 5 January 20201) and support service is working on a fix. In the meantime please email any queries to [email protected] and they will endeavour to respond to as soon as possible.

Private Transition

There are two practices in the UK offering private assessments for transsexualism: Gendercare, run by Drs Lorimer and Seal, and Transhealth, run by Dr Curtis.  It is possible to self-refer to both practices online.  More information can be accessed at http://gendercare.co.uk/ and http://www.transhealth.co.uk/.

Their assessment protocols mirror that of the NHS, with a minimum of two assessments required before a patient is approved for hormone therapy. However, their waiting lists are significantly shorter than those found on the NHS. 

Mixing NHS and Private Transition

It is possible to access some aspects of transition in the private sector and others on the NHS. For example, patients may access hormone therapy privately and then surgery on the NHS. You can be referred to a GIC at any point of transition and the referral process is the same no matter what medical steps you may have already taken. 

In the case of patients accessing hormone therapy privately, it may be possible to obtain the diagnosis of transsexualism and the recommendation of hormone therapy in the private sector, but have the prescription written by an NHS GP. This ensures that only the NHS prescription charge is paid by the patient. This is called shared care. A GP is not obliged to write an NHS prescription in this case but many are willing to do so.

Disclosure and Barring Service

Students registered on certain degree programmes or those involved in voluntary work, may be required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. DBC checks have replaced the more widely known Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks.

The DBS has a confidential checking service for transgender applicants who do not want to reveal details of their previous identity to the organisation that requires the check.

Applicants should contact [email protected] or 0151 676 1452 for more information