The Long Beach City College board of trustees adopted a policy on Wednesday, March 27, that allows students to use preferred first names rather than their legal ones, in an effort to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community.
The policy allows City College students to switch to a preferred first name in most contexts, such as student identification cards and rosters. The policy follows the lead of the city, Cal State Long Beach and the Long Beach Unified School District, which have similar policies intended to be inclusive of transgender and gender non-conforming students.
“This is something I know community members in the past have wanted for several years,” said Trustee Uduak-Joe Ntuk, who first introduced the policy to the board in August.
While the policy has been in the works for months, City College rolled out a pilot program in November for students to switch to preferred first names.
About 170 students have begun using their preferred first names during that time.
“I know we delayed it a little bit,” Ntuk said, “but we wanted to make sure we got it right.”
Porter Gilberg, executive director of The LGBTQ Center Long Beach, a nonprofit providing resources and services for the LGBTQ community, partnered with the college to help draft the policy. In an earlier interview, he said preferred name policies are important for transgender and gender non-conforming students because sometimes their legal names do not match their identities; and for many, it’s an “issue of safety.”
“There’s a place for everyone,” Ntuk said. “We want to makes sure everyone feels comfortable and supported.”
Cal State Long Beach adopted a preferred first name policy in 2015 and the Long Beach Unified School District adopted its in September. The Long Beach City Council also adopted a preferred name policy for city employees in November.