Resources for Trans Students

The following are resources for trans, gender-variant, and gender questioning people and allies at Michigan State University. This page hopes to gather information and resources related to gender identity and expression for Spartan community.  Click on the heading to see the applicable resources.

University Name Policy

If you have legally changed your name and want to update it throughout all of your university records, you should bring a legal document indicating the change, a driver’s license, voter registration card, social security card, passport, or marriage license to Room 150 of the Administration Building. You may also submit your request by mail or fax (517-432-3347), including legible copies of your documentation.

You can use your preferred name in all areas of the university except for those where legal name is required (e.g., federal forms, financial aid, etc.). If you prefer to use a name other than your legal name, you can submit you preferred name, which will appear on your Student ID and in class rosters on D2L. Michigan State University allows you to change your name and update it throughout all your university records.

Below are some frequently asked questions around name change.

How do I change my name in the system?

You may establish or update your preferred name in STUINFO. Choose “Preferred Name” under the “Other” category on the STUINFO menu. Students may update or remove their preferred name via STUInfo or in person at the Office of the Registrar, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road, Room 150.

When I change my name in the system, where will it show up?

The legal name will continue to be used for certain university records, documents, and business processes such as reporting, financial aid, official transcripts, and other records where use of legal name is required by law or university policy.

The preferred name will be displayed in parenthesis behind the legal first name across university systems, where possible. The preferred name will be displayed in systems such as Desire2Learn, STUINFO, Office of the Registrar Instructor systems, and MSU People Search. Additionally, if the individual lives in the dorm, the preferred name is the only name that comes up when checking things out from the service center desks.

New students who submit a preferred name on their application for admission will receive an ID card at the Academic Orientation Program with their preferred name. Students who have already been issued an MSU ID Card may request a card through the ID Office for a fee of $20. Requests should be made no less than one business day after updating the preferred name in STUINFO. The preferred name will print in the place of the legal first name on the front of the card. The legal first and last name will be printed on the back of the card.

Do I have control over where it shows up?

There is unfortunately no control over where the preferred name shows up. Although, your preferred name will show up on MSU People Search, something that an individual can do is request to not have information show up for them on MSU People Search.

What name will be on my diploma?

Students indicate their diploma name on the Michigan State University Application for Graduation. The student name listed on a diploma or certificate must match the legal name as it is recorded on the student’s official university record, with the following exceptions: option of first name or initial; option of middle name or initial; inclusion of former or maiden name(s); and inclusion of proper capitalization and accentuation of name.

Can I change it without having my legal name changed?

The university reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it is used inappropriately, including but not limited to, avoiding a legal obligation or misrepresentation. But to change the name rather than have a preferred name the individual must have it legally changed.

Can I get another diploma after graduating if I have changed my name?

After graduating,  if a legal name change happens, the individual can come back, change the name legally in the MSU System, and order a new diploma.

My parents have/expect access to my university records like STUINFO. What can they see about my name, gender marker, or services I receive (e.g., scholarships, health services)?

It will show up behind your legal name with parenthesis. Any official things sent to you or your parents will have the legal name but logging into STUINFO, the legal name with prefered name next to it will show up.

**If you are looking to legally change your name, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund‘s Name Change Project provides free legal name change services to low-income transgender people through partnerships with some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms and corporate law departments. It is available in Ingham County on a case-by-case basis. The link for the intake form can beA found here: Intake Form Link 

Michigan Legal Name Change

The following steps were developed to assist those seeking a legal name change in Michigan, but is not intended to serve as a substitute for legal advice or official government guides. Please verify procedures and requirements with your local county clerk’s office. If you have suggested updates or revisions please email us at lgbtcenter@gvsu.edu.

CONDITIONS

  1. Must be a resident of a county in Michigan for at least 1 year.
    • This will be the county listed on your current ID or license.
    • You must file in this county, even if you do not currently reside there.
  2. The petition must not be made with fraudulent intent.
    • The reason for the name change must be explained on the form.

ESTIMATED COST BREAKDOWN (ALL FEES MAY VARY SLIGHTLY BY COUNTY):

  • ~$175 Initial filing fee
  • ~$25-50 Individual county processing fees (not always applicable)
  • ~$60 Newspaper publishing fee
  • ~$30 Fee for filing the order and two certified copies of the petition following the hearing
    • Pro-Tips:
      • Get at least two certified copies. Some agencies require an original copy of the order to keep or borrow for up to 6 weeks. If you have two copies, you always have one for safe keeping.
      • You can always get more certified copies in the future at the county clerk’s office for a fee.
  • ~$10 New State ID or Driver’s License

General Timeline for Legal Name Change in Michigan

ESTIMATED TIMELINE

  • ~ 1 week: Obtaining and mailing the PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 51 form, standard USPS mail.
  • ~ 3-5 weeks: Obtaining a criminal background check.
    • Only for those age 22 years and older.
  • ~ 2-8 weeks: Receive hearing information from the clerk, hearing scheduled.
  • ~ 1-3 days: Publishing the notice of hearing in the newspaper (do this asap after you receive your hearing date)
  • ~ 3-4 weeks: Receive new ID in the mail after visiting the Secretary of State.

Total time from filing date to hearing date varies. Average will be 4-8 weeks.

*The Notice of Hearing must be published no less than 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. See Step 6 for more details.

STEP 1

Download and print the form: PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 51.

  1. Check your county clerk’s website or go to www.michiganlegalhelp.org to download and print the form.
    • Michigan Legal Help offers a walkthrough that fills out the form for you based on your answers to questions.
  2. Make sure you fill out all portions.
    • If you also have a Michigan Birth Certificate, you can complete that change at the same time via line 9 on the PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 51 form. If you do not have a Michigan Birth Certificate, you will have to contact the issuing state after your order is approved by a judge to change the name on your Birth Certificate.
  3. Be sure to put your permanent address (as listed on your current ID) on the form. You can provide the clerk with a temporary mailing address if needed (you will provide them with a self addressed envelope in Step 2), but the form can’t be processed unless the current permanent address is listed.

STEP 2

  1. Find your county clerk’s office or mailing address.
    • Each county can have a different filing and processing fee, but it is usually around $175.
      • If you cannot afford this fee, you may qualify for a fee waiver.
        • Doing this will add more time to the process because you will need to wait for a decision on the fee waiver before you can file your PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 51.
        • These are the steps to apply for a fee waiver
  2. If you need to mail a payment, call the office and verify the cost and information. Many offices will not accept personal checks but will accept a money order.
    • You can get a money order from your bank, credit union, and Western Union (available in many stores such as Meijer, Family Fare, and Walgreens). Search online or call to find the one closest and most convenient for you. Issuers often charge a small fee to prepare the money order.
  3. Pro-Tips:
    • When mailing your petition, pay for delivery confirmation. This will give you a tracking number for your mailed documents, so you will know when they have been delivered. You can do this at the post office when you mail the document or purchase one online and print the label to tape on your letter.
      • This costs about 5 dollars, but it was worth it when my letter got misdirected.
    • Some websites are unclear on this point, but do not send the petition to the court itself.
      • Generally, you will send the petition to the County Clerk’s office.
    • Make 1-2 copies of the petition and submit the original with your petition.

STEP 3

Mail (as described above) or drop off your petition, the proper amount of payment, a copy of your Birth Certificate (in-state or out-of-state accepted) and current ID (these do not need to be certified copies), and a self-addressed envelope with a stamp.

  • They will use the envelope you provide to send you information. Be sure the address you use is current and valid. You MUST send them this envelope.

STEP 4

  1. Criminal Background Check (if you are less than 22 years old, skip this step)
    • All persons 22 years and older require a criminal background check before a hearing can be scheduled.
    • You will need to be fingerprinted at a local police agency (cost varies).
      • Search online or ask the clerk to find your closest fingerprinting agency.
    • Mail your fingerprints, a copy of the petition you sent to the clerk, and a form of payment to the state police.
    • The state police will report its findings to the county in which you filed the petition.
      • This usually takes 3-5 weeks.
      • If you have no pending charges or criminal record, the state police will destroy your fingerprints after they report to the court.

STEP 5

Schedule the Hearing

  • The county clerk will use the self-addressed stamped envelope you provided to send you information (after you pass the criminal record check, if applicable) regarding your hearing.
    • Some courts schedule the hearing date for you while others require you to call and schedule yourself. If you are unsure of your date, ask the clerk’s office or search your county’s court docket.
  • Pro-Tip:
    • If you are under 22 years old and do not receive your hearing information within 2 weeks, call the county clerk. Make sure they understand that they do not have to wait for background check results because your age waives that requirement.

STEP 6

  1. Publishing the Notice of Hearing
    • All name change hearings must be published in a local newspaper no more than 8 weeks and no less than 15 days prior to the hearing.
      • “Local” refers to the county in which you filed the petition.
        • The clerk should be able to provide a list of acceptable papers.
      • Pro-Tip:
        • This was confusing. The notice only needs to be published for one day, as long as it is at least 15 days before the hearing.
        • Usually, the newspaper will fill out a proof of publication form and send it to you or the court, but it is your responsibility to make sure the court receives proof of publication BEFORE the day of your hearing.
    • Each local newspaper will have a different publishing fee.
    • If there is a reason you do not feel safe publishing the notice, you can ask the court to keep the proceedings confidential; however, the judge will only do this if publishing will put you in physical danger.  This request must be made early on in the process for review. Many courts will cancel your hearing date if your proof of publication is not received by the due date.

STEP 7

  1. Attend the Hearing
    • Arrive on the day of your hearing with the following:
      1. A copy of the petition you submitted
      2. A current ID and a form of payment to obtain certified copies (check with the court for accepted forms of payments, some may accept credit card, check, or money order)
      3. Birth Certificate and proof of current residence. Proof of residence is not always required but may be requested. This can include drivers license or other ID and may include items from column 4 of this Secretary of State resource under “Proof of Michigan Residency”https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Applying_for_lic_or_ID_SOS_428_222146_7.pdf
      4. Print and bring with you the ORDER FOLLOWING HEARING ON PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 52
        • This document is included in the toolkit found at www.michiganlegalhelp.org
        • You NEED to bring this document to the hearing because this is what the judge signs.
    • The judge will ask you questions such as:
      1. Do you have a criminal record?
      2. Are you making this request with fraudulent intent?
      3. Why do you want to change your name?
      4. Do you have any debt?
        1. If you have student loans, you must update the creditor as soon as you obtain a new Social Security Card.
    • Pro-Tips
      • This is the scariest part. Be polite and sure when answering questions.
      • Listen carefully for any instructions the judge or bailiff gives you. If you need to, bring a pen and paper to write down important details.
      • If you need an accommodation to attend your hearing, contact the court clerk before the day of your hearing.

STEP 8

File the Order

  1. The court will do this after the judge approves your name change.
    • Listen to the directions given by the judge, the location of this step varies.
    • This can usually be done the same day of your hearing.
  2. The court will certify the ORDER FOLLOWING HEARING ON PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 52 and will charge for each certified copy and a filing fee.

STEP 9

  1. Changing your State ID or Driver’s License
    • You must obtain a new Social Security Card before you can change your State ID. This is free. You will need to go to the Social Security (SS) Office. Checkhttps://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp to find the one nearest to you.
      • The SS office will require:
        1. A certified copy of the ORDER FOLLOWING HEARING ON PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 52.
        2. Your current Social Security Card.
        3. Your current State ID or Driver’s License.
        4. Your Birth Certificate (not required but very helpful).
      • Pro-Tip:
        • Once you file for a new Social Security Card, you can proceed to get your new State ID or Driver’s License after 24-48 hours. You do not have to wait for the new card to come in the mail. Ask the employee at the SS office for a more exact waiting time.
        • If they don’t give it to you, ask for a signed receipt that shows you have applied for a new Social Security Card.
    • To update your State ID or Driver’s License at the Secretary of State, you will need:
      1. Your current State ID or Driver’s License
      2. A certified copy of the ORDER FOLLOWING HEARING ON PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 52
      3. A form of payment
      4. Birth Certificate or U.S. Passport
        • This is a recent update used to verify U.S. Citizenship used for some applications. You may or may not be asked for these documents.
      5. It is also helpful to bring the processing receipt you will get from the Social Security Office.

STEP 10

  1. Update your Name
    • Visit www.dmv.org/articles/checklist-where-to-change-your-name/ to view a list of places that may have your name.
      • This article is targeted for those who have recently married, but the list of agencies will not vary much.
    • Special considerations for students:
      1. University Registrar
      2. Student Employee Records
      3. Student Loan Agency
      4. High School or Transfer Transcripts
      5. Student ID, Online materials, Email*
        1. This can be done at GVSU at any point without a legal name change. Visit www.gvsu.edu/lgbtrc/preferred-or-use-name-208.htm for detailed steps.
      6. FAFSA/Renewable Scholarships
        • Fill out the next FAFSA with the name attached to your Social Security Number, if you have completed Step 9(a) this will be your new legal name.
        • Submit your FAFSA early, you will need time to provide them with extra documentation of the name change if asked.
      7. Contact any scholarship agency that may be sending checks on your behalf to the University. 

Gender Marker

To change your gender marker with the university (only “male” or “female” are currently available), you can do so through the Registrar’s office (Room 150, Administration Building). No legal documentation is required.

Your gender marker varies by department where it shows up. Your gender marker does not appear on D2L or in class rosters. Gender is mostly used by Olin Health Center and Student Housing. Your gender marker also appears in “Student Details” on STUINFO as well as for MSU Jobs as this is for tax purposes.

At this time, you cannot control where your gender marker does and does not show up. Changing your gender marker will have it show up as that particular marker throughout university systems. Legal names, however, still appear where legal names are required.

Inclusive Restroom Map

Single Occupant Restroom Map

Below is a map of the all gender, accessible restrooms on campus, maintained by the Office of Planning and Budgets.  You can click on a particular spot on the map to get more information about the restroom(s) and its/their location(s).

This map provides the location of all restrooms on campus designated as single-occupant restrooms. Students, employees, and visitors at Michigan State University may use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. For ease of identifying the restroom that best meets individual needs, the marking pins have been color coded to differentiate between gender-specific restrooms and all-gender restrooms. Clicking on a pin provides more detailed information including the specific location and accessibility information. This map is maintained by Facilities Planning and Space Management Office of Planning & Budgets. Due to ongoing efforts to update restroom signs to provide more restrooms that are available for all genders, this map will be updated periodically.

Map legend

Yellow marks indicate accessible, gender neutral restrooms. Red-Orange marks indicate non-accessible, gender neutral restrooms. Light Green marks indicate accessible, single-user women-signed restrooms. Spartan Green marks indicate non-accessible, single-user women-signed restrooms. Blue marks indicate accessible, single-user men-signed restrooms. Indigo marks indicate non-accessible, single-user men-signed restrooms.

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Information last updated: December 2018

On Campus Housing

The Department of Residence Education and Housing Services and the LGBT Resource Center are dedicated to providing safe and comfortable living environments for all students, including those whose gender identity and/or expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.

A transgender student looking for a supportive living arrangement in the residence halls should contact one of the staff members listed below. Because of limitations in the available housing options, there is no guarantee that all of a student’s preferences can be met, but we are highly committed to working with the student to find the best accommodations possible.

If you would like more information on housing for transgender students/flexible housing options, please contact:

Student Organization: TransAction

TransAction is a student organization dedicated to trans and gender non-conforming students and their allies. Contact transactionmsu@gmail.com to learn more about the organization and how to be in kinship with members of the organization.

Club Sports

Students at MSU have the opportunity to be involved in intramural sports through our Recreational Sports and Fitness Services department.  Intramural sports are bound by the same rules governing all student organizations, meaning they cannot discriminate on the basis of “age, color, gender, disability status, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or weight.”  Students may participate in leagues with the gender they identify with.  For more information about the participant policies for club sports, check out the handbook here.

If there is ever issue with participation, please contact the LBGT Resource Center or Angela Michael in Rec Sports.

Recreational Sports Facilities

Many of the Recreational Sports Buildings have inclusive facilities.  See below for the facilities and what resources they currently have.

IM Circle

IM Circle has a gender inclusive locker room called a “Companion Locker Room.” This space is locked at all times. It is typically used by parents who may have an opposite gender child who’s too old to be in the locker room alone and yet too young to be sent in alone. There are individual bathroom stalls that could be used for additional privacy within the Companion Locker Room should others be using it at the same time. To access the key, please see the building supervisor after 12:00pm. If you wish to access the “Companion Locker Room” prior to noon, please email Angela Michael, alm@msu.edu, to discuss options.

IM West

IM West has a gender inclusive locker room. Locker room 124 located on first floor east side of the building. To gain access to this locker room individuals would need to inquire at the IM West Service Counter. There are not individual stalls or locker rooms here at the IM West.

IM East

IM East does not have gender inclusive facilities.

Demonstration Hall

Demonstration Hall has two gender inclusive restrooms located on the East side of the arena. There are no locker rooms in this facility.

Counseling Services

Services on Campus

  • The MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services has an LGBT Liaison, Ginny Blakely, for students who need to talk to someone about their gender identity.
  • SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Group) is a confidential, small support group for LGBTQ students.

For more information about either of these opportunities:

  • E-mail Ginny Blakely; or,
  • Visit Counseling and Psychiatric Services in Olin on the 3rd floor

Health Services

Health Services on Campus

MSU Student Health Services provides transgender students with medical and psychological services to optimize overall physical and psychological well-being and self-fulfillment.  Their primary provider team of physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants is trained to provide medical care for persons of all genders.  In addition, they have staff to provide ongoing care for students receiving hormone therapy while away from their home provider.

If you have already started hormone replacement therapy, and would like to continue you HRT while at MSU, Olin Health Center has physicians who are able to provide ongoing medication refills to students with a documented treatment plan.  Olin Health Center does initiate hormone replacement therapy. In order to do this, Olin requires a referral letter from a qualified mental health professional as required by the Standards of Care (Version 7) of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health.  Olin created a page explaining their Services for Transgender Students.

It is most helpful if your complete medical records are available to review prior to your initial appointment at Olin, including:

  • Diagnostic evaluations from primary care, psychiatric, and specialty physicians;
  • Medication prescription information; and,
  • Treatment and therapy plans.

You can sign a release for the Medical Records Department to request your records, or records can be faxed directly from your provide to MSU Student Health Services.  Medical Records can be reached at 517-353-9153 (phone) or 517-353-9153 (fax).

MSU also offers students, faculty, and staff two HIV testing options at Olin Health Center:

  1. Confidential Testing During a Clinic Visit
    • During a routine primary care visit, your provider may give you the option to be tested for HIV. HIV testing is routinely offered to patients in college as part of regular health care. If you choose to be tested during your primary care visit, the testing will be confidential, but not anonymous. There will be a charge for the HIV test, and results are generally available in 2-5 business days.
    • To schedule a primary care visit, call 517-353-4660.
  2. Free & Anonymous at Health Education
    • Free and anonymous HIV testing is offered through Health Education Services at Olin Health Center. You can find more information about Health Education Services or schedule an appointment at this web address or call them at 517-353-4660.

Health Services in the Area

The following are medical providers in the area who specialize in supporting trans patients:

Trans-friendly doctors can be found through Transgender Michigan’s website here.

You can also find sexual health and testing options in the local community.

Planned Parenthood provides STD/STI testing and education, as well as women and men’s health care services. Planned Parenthood’s services are offered on a sliding scale and some are free for those who qualify. Sliding scale prices are a beneficial resource for those who do not wish to be on their parent’s insurance. Planned Parenthood lists gender identity as one of the characteristics that they do not discriminate against.

The Ingham County Health Department STI Services provides clinical services in the strictest of confidence to all county residents who seek care and/or education for the prevention of STIs. While trying to continue to offer services at a low and/or no cost, they ask for clients who are able to provide a donation. To make an appointment, call 517-887-4424.

Providers: Please consider this resource from the nursing department of USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. It provides insight in to what health care providers can do to better support trans patients:

Redefining Safe Spaces for Transgender Patients 

Selective Service Program

Assigned Male at Birth 
Regardless of current legal sex status, all people assigned male at birth must register with the selective service within 30 days of their 18th birthday.  They can register for the selective service through the secretary of state website or there is a selective service registration option on the FAFSA form.  If they do not register for the selective service within 30 days of their 18th birthday, they are not eligible for federal student financial aid.  Due to the current transgender-exclusionary policies, they can still fill out a request for status information letter.  This request form includes a specific section marked “transsexual” and requires a copy of their birth certificate indicating birth-assigned sex as well as additional documentation indicating transition (medical or legal documentation).

Assigned Female at Birth
For students who are assigned female at birth who change their legal sex to male before their 26th birthday, they are able, though not required, to register for Selective Service after their 18th birthday.  If they wish to be exempt, they will be asked to prove that they are exempt with a status information letter.  A status letter can be obtained by filling out a request form through the selective service website.  This request form includes a specific section marked “transsexual” and requires a copy of their birth certificate indicating birth-assigned sex, as well as, additional documentation indicating transition (medical or legal documentation).  One exemption letter may be used in multiple school financial aid processes.

Transgender students are welcome to contact Selective Service regarding their registration requirements if they are unclear about how they should answer Question 21 or Question 22 on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or need a status information letter from Selective Service that clarifies whether or not they are exempt from the registration requirement. This can be done by calling our Registration Information Office on 1-888-655-1825.

This information can be found at the SSS’s Who Registers site.  For additional information about transgender people and the selective service, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality’s resource: Selective Service and Transgender People.

Vocal Coaching

The LBGTRC can not endorse any practitioners not associated with Michigan State University.  Some of our community members have worked with the following in Michigan for speech language services.

  • Jennifer Gostin, Voice Therapy – Speech Pathologist
    • Ann Arbor, MI (University of Michigan)
    • 734-998-7888
  • Jody Stark, Voice Training
    • Ypsilanti, MI (Eastern Michigan’s Music Therapy Center)
    • 734-487-0292
    • jstark8@emich.edu
  • Elizabeth Terrel, Acting and Voice Training
  • Central Michigan University’s Carls Center
    • Mount Pleasant, MI
    • 989-774-3960

Discrimination and Harassment Redress

The Office of Institutional Equity prohibits sexual harassment, which includes harassment of a sexual nature based on one’s gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Discrimination or harassment based on gender that does not involve unwanted attention is prohibited gender discrimination under MSU’s Anti-Discrimination Policy and is also investigated by OIE. For more information about OIE, you can check out their website and also see their page specifically for people who identify as LGBTQIA.

Useful Links

  • Family Acceptance Project
    • The Family Acceptance Project is a research, intervention, education, and policy initiative that works to prevent health and mental health risks for LGBT children and youth.
  • T-VOX 
    • A support and community website for transsexual, intersex, and genderqueer people.
  • Trans Youth Family & Allies (TYFA)
    • A wealth of resources for parents and youth, including a discussion group for parents and educational programs among other resources.
  • Transgender Michigan (TGMI)
    • Transgender Michigan’s primary mission is to provide advocacy, support, and education while serving to create coalitions in the state of Michigan to unify and empower transgender and gender non-conformist communities.
  • Transgender Visibility Guide
    • A guide designed by the Human Rights Campaign about being yourself and connecting with loved ones.
  • TransHealth
    • Health and fitness for transgender and transsexual people by transgender and transsexual people.
  • Transgender Support Groups
    • A world-wide list of transgender support groups.

Are we missing something?

Please contact lbgtrc@msu.edu if there is information missing, outdated, or you would like to see added to this page.