Recognizing gender identity

July 13, 2023

In celebration of International Non-Binary Day: How changing your name and gender designation works at the University of Stuttgart. An employee shares her experience of the process.

July 14 is International Non-Binary Day.  This is a collective name for very different gender identities outside of male or female. At the University of Stuttgart, these identities are part of our diversity strategy and strengthened by the diversity concept

Being unable to identify with the gender you were assigned at birth brings very unique challenges. This includes being addressed by colleagues or fellow students with the "wrong" name or pronoun. At the University of Stuttgart, it has been possible since April 2022 - even before corresponding changes to the law - to have gender designations and first names adjusted. Since its introduction, a total of 26 people (students and employees) have completed this process. An employee shares her experience of the process.

Marion Gruber works at the University of Stuttgart and is transgender, but with a binary gender identity. A binary trans person, then, where the gender assigned at birth is different from her actual gender. Marion Gruber had her first name and gender designation changed at the University of Stuttgart and shares her experience of the process here. 

A report on changing your name and gender designation

"My name is Marion Gruber and I have worked at the University of Stuttgart since 2014. I am currently employed at a central facility. When I was born, my assigned gender was male. Very early on, even at nursery, I sensed that this assignment was not right for me. Even then I realized that I had little interest in boys' games, and would much rather have been a girl...

This experience continued throughout my life, but it took me a very long time to admit to myself that I was a trans person and that I had to face this challenge, because further repression would have been very damaging. I began receiving hormone replacement treatment in the summer of 2022, which will further "feminize" my body. Since then and step-by-step I am starting to feel more comfortable with myself. In addition to medical measures, changing gender also requires many social and legal changes.

In the fall of 2022, I had an initial conversation with the Diversity Management Consultant at the University of Stuttgart, Barbara Scheubert, to find out about the process of changing my name. I had learned about this opportunity through the university's website. I changed my name at the university in early 2023, having previously come out as a trans woman in my department.

Uncomplicated and straightforward

I found the procedure for changing my first name and gender designation at the University of Stuttgart very straightforward and uncomplicated. I made an appointment with Ms. Scheubert. She took her time and informed me in detail about the process. After presenting my dgti supplementary ID card as well as my ID card, the form and copies of the ID card were sent to the university's central administration. Within a few days, my first name and gender entry were changed in all of the university's systems. I am now Ms. Marion Gruber throughout the entire university.

My colleagues and my superiors were very understanding about my decision and supported me completely. I have been accepted as a woman since I came out, without any ifs and buts. I received very positive feedback on all channels, both offline and digital, and was encouraged to continue on my chosen path. That made me very happy. Both the uncomplicated name change and the consistently positive feedback from all sides have made me feel more confident and have increased my satisfaction at work. I am very happy that I can now live and work in my true gender.

When I changed my name at the university, I also hoped that I would be able to carry out an official change of first name and civil status later this year, also in an uncomplicated and straightforward manner, due to the new planned self-determination law. Unfortunately, at the moment it looks like the law will be further delayed due to disagreements. Therefore, I have now decided to officially change my name using the TSG process.

Stressful situations in everyday life

I would strongly recommend the procedure for changing first names and gender designations to all those affected at the University of Stuttgart. Even before officially changing your name, the university has made it possible to work or study at the university with the correct gender designation. Thus, at least in this context, it is possible to avoid having to face a confrontation with the old first name ("deadname") and an incorrect form of address ("misgendern"), which is often stressful for trans people.

I am a binary trans person, as I clearly identify and live as a woman, but I would like to take this opportunity to encourage other groups of people whose birth sex does not match their perceived gender identity to have their data changed at the university. This procedure is also open to non-binary people, as deletion of the gender entry is also possible.

In contrast to the university, trans people often still face unpleasant situations in everyday life. For me personally, it was very stressful to still be called "Mr. Gruber" in doctors' offices because my health insurance card had not yet been changed. I was perceived as a woman by the other people present in the waiting room, but called as a man, which sometimes led to uncomfortable glances from others. I can only advise all those affected to contact their health insurance provider and explain why it is essential to change the data. If your own health insurance company refuses, switching to another insurance company can also solve the problem (which I have since done).

The "Non-binary" flag by Kye Rowan. This consists of "yellow" (representing that which is beyond binary), "white" (representing many/all genders), "purple" (representing a mix of female and male), and "black" (representing an absence of gender).

The right decision

Despite having to overcome some difficulties and hurdles, I would definitely say that it was the right decision to take this path. Trans people have to work hard to have that, which for cis people is viewed as normal: The recognition of their gender identity. The University of Stuttgart has supported me as an employee, which I am very happy about. I want to explicitly encourage others affected to do what is right for them to and take advantage of the opportunity to change their first names and gender designation at the University of Stuttgart."

First and last names have been changed to protect the person's identity. 

You can find information and important contacts here

As part of the theme of non-binarity, Diversity Management at the University of Stuttgart would also like to highlight the importance of Evermood: This online platform provides students and employees with consultation and advice options. This service can also be used anonymously.

Stuvus information: Changing your name in the university systems

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