UC advances equality, inclusion by implementing nonbinary gender identification

The University of California announced today (Nov. 17) that it has adopted systemwide gender identity and lived name options for UC-issued documents and information systems. UC’s new Presidential Policy on Gender Recognition and Lived Names, which acknowledges gender identities other than man and woman, is another milepost in the University’s commitment to equity and inclusion for all.

“The University of California continues to fully embrace diversity in our country,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D. “We believe this policy is a step toward an even more inclusive community and, in turn, will help build a stronger, more vibrant society.”

LGBTQ community leaders have advocated for identity documents that align with and acknowledge a person’s current gender identity, regardless of gender assigned at birth. The 2017 California Gender Recognition Act is a recent win for the movement. UC’s new policy embraces this effort and takes it a step further by including a lived name option. 

“This policy underscores UC’s commitment to reflect California’s dynamic demographics and individuality,” stated John A. Pérez, chair of the UC Board of Regents, which governs the University of more than 190,000 employees and 238,000 students systemwide. “Further, as the state’s third largest employer, UC’s recognition of nonbinary gender identities and lived names supports broader transgender rights, which has been a long time coming for California and the nation.”

Under the new policy, University students, employees, alumni, retirees, vendors, medical center patients and other affiliates completing university-issued documents may choose from man, woman or nonbinary gender identification options. In addition to gender identification, individuals may also state a lived name that differs from their legal name.

A lived name is a self-chosen personal or preferred professional name instead of one’s legal name. The individual’s lived name will be the default, while their legal name — if different from their lived name — will be kept confidential and not published on UC documents or displayed in information systems that do not require a person’s legal name.

“Our new policy culminates from a collaborative process that reflects valuable input from the Academic Senate, LGBTQ Resource Center directors, students and hundreds of other stakeholders,” said Yvette Gullatt, vice president and vice provost for Graduate, Undergraduate and Equity Affairs. “I’d like to thank all those who contributed to solidifying this critical policy.”

UC’s undergraduate admissions portal and UCPath, the University’s employee information system, already offer nonbinary gender identity options. Under the new policy, these options will be extended to all UC documents and information systems.

California’s Gender Recognition Act (SB 179) makes it significantly easier for transgender people living in or born in California to obtain identity documents that accurately reflect their genders.

“LGBTQ activists have fought for decades for transgender recognition,” said Billy Curtis, executive director of the Gender Equity Resource Center at UC Berkeley. “It’s gratifying to see UC embrace California’s Gender Recognition Act, which is a milestone to many who identify across the gender spectrum.”

UC has begun implementing this new policy across all campuses, laboratories, medical centers and other UC facilities, and expects to complete information system and documentation updates by the end of 2023. Individuals connected to the University will be able to retroactively amend their gender designations and lived names as information systems continue to be updated.