Transitioning at Carleton
This is a guide to transitioning at and beyond Carleton. Below are some resources on coming out as trans, changing your name at Carleton, in the state of Minnesota, and on your passport, meeting your housing needs at Carleton, and taking hormones. Not all of this information will apply to everyone. Being trans means different things to different people and there's no "right" way to be trans or timeline that you have to stick to. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Kaaren Williamsen (kwilliam).
Faculty and Staff
Sending your professor or boss an email can be a good way to let them know that you prefer to be called a different name and use different pronouns. Ohio University's LGBT Center suggests including the follow points in an email:
- Statement of the name/gender they have on class roster.
- State preferred name and gender (“I prefer to be referred to by ____ pronouns”).
- Brief explanation (“I identify as transgender, which means _____ to me.”).
- “I prefer for no one to know about my transgender status” vs. “I would be willing to talk about being transgender as it related to class discussion” (depending on class and personal preference).
- Thank them for being understanding.
- Say they can email you if they have questions.
- Provide your contact information.
- Provide them with relevant websites for more information.
They also provide this sample email:
I am a student in your (insert class name here). I am getting in contact with you to let you know that I identify as (insert identity here). My name will probably show up on your roster as (insert legal name here), but I would prefer to go by (insert chosen name here) and (masculine/feminine/neutral) pronouns. I will be putting (insert chosen name here) on my assignments and would appreciate it if you called me that in class. If you have any questions for me regarding this, please don't hesitate to contact me. My email address is (insert email address here) and my phone number is (insert phone number here).
Thank you very much for your understanding,
(sign with chosen name)
If you don't feel comfortable communicating directly with your professors, you can contact your class dean, who can send an email to the professor letting them know about your preferred name and pronoun.
If you are interested in changing your name at Carleton, contact Kaaren (kwilliam) to begin the process. She can help you navigate changing your name on your OneCard and with the registrar.
In order to change your name on the mailbox lists in Saylse contact Locke Perkins (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request that your preferred name be used.
In order to change your name on class rosters and moodle contact Ann May (email@example.com) or go to the registrar's office.
In order to change your name on shared Carleton web docs (docs.carleton) you need to submit a request at webhelpdesk.carleton.edu.
In order to change your zimbra email address and username email Les LaCroix (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In the State of Minnesota
You can also take steps to legally change your name in the state of Minnesota or your home state. The requirements to change your name in Minnesota are:
- Have lived in the State of Minnesota for at least six month
Contact the Dean of Students office for paperwork verifying this
- File the Application for Name Change in the county in which you presently live
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Pay the civil filing fee and certified copy fee (if you are unable to pay the filing fee you can ask court administration for forms to see if you qualify for a fee waiver)
In addition to these requirements, you need to complete and submit the forms listed below.
In MN you must petition for a Variance (gender change). An individual who has changed their birth record, or who documents having had genital correction surgery, will almost undoubtedly have their request approved. Persons who have not had genital correction surgery should enclose a letter, preferably from a physician, confirming hormone therapy or other permanent physical changes.
- Minnesota Petition for Variance (gender change)
If you want to change your name and gender on your passport, refer to the National Center for Transgender Equality's "Understanding the New Passport Gender Change Policy."Housing
You have a variety of options for housing at Carleton and you can work with the director of the Gender and Sexuality Center, Kaaren Williamson (kwilliam), or the director of Residential Life, Andrea Robinson (arobinson), to find an option that works for you. You may want to consider your roommate situation, whether you would prefer a single, and ultimately, what will make you most comfortable.
If you want hormones or surgery you will have to go through a therapist. A therapist can often be your coach, helping you through the process and providing support along the way.
The Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition has a Trans Friendly Provider Directory that can help you find the right therapist. RECLAIM, an organization in Minneapolis that aims to increase mental health access for LGBT youth, also provides counseling and support groups.
Some trans people decide to take hormones as part of their transition. It's very important that you get your hormones from a health professional and that you are being monitored to make sure that the hormones are safe for you. Your health professional and therapist can talk with you about the risks associated with hormones, what changes to expect, and provide emotional support. Most therapists use the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards.
The new standards require that a health profession conduct a psychosocial assessment and get the informed consent of the individual before making a referral to an endocrinologist or other hormone provider, who will actually prescribe the hormones. The criteria for hormone therapy are:
- Persistent, well-documented gender dysphoria;
- Capacity to make a fully informed decision and to consent for treatment;
- Age of majority in a given country
- If significant medical or mental health concerns are present, they must be reasonably well-controlled
Not all therapists use this model and some might require you to meet with them for a longer period of time.Therapists that use informed consent will see you for one visit and carefully go over the risks and effects of hormones. If you want to do informed consent, the first step is finding a therapist who is willing to use the informed consent model. Janet Bystrom in Minneapolis uses this model and other providers that are part of the Minnesota Trans Health Coalition may use it too. The second step is to find an endocrinologist who will accept an informed consent model. The therapist will usually have some they generally refer patients to. They will most likely make you have some bloodwork done to make sure it is safe for you to use hormones.
Once you have hormones, the Shot Clinic in Minneapolis is a trans-specific space where you can get help administering hormone shots, learn to give yourself shots, and get free supplies.
For more information about hormones, check out these resources:
For information about other health concerns check out:
Note: looking at these resources should not be a substitute for talking to a medical professional
There are resources at Carleton and in Minneapolis to meet and get support from other trans people. At Carleton, there is the Gender Discussion Group (GDG), which meets weekly to talk about trans and gender issues. In Minneapolis, RECLAIM, the Trans Support Youth Network (TYSN), and the Shot Clinic all provide support groups and community events.
There are also a variety of books, websites, blogs, and movies that might be helpful to look at.
If you would like to talk to Carleton students one on one about navigating transitioning at Carleton or supporting transitioning friends and partners you are welcome to contact Nick Hittner-Cunningham (hittnerm) or Olivia Fantini (fantinio).