California may allow students to choose names on diplomas

August 31, 2021 GMT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California college students could choose the names they want on their diplomas rather than having their birth names listed, under a bill sent Monday to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The measure aims to particularly aid transgender and nonbinary students by making sure public colleges don’t use the “deadname” they were assigned at birth, Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu said.

It passed the Assembly on a 47-0 vote.

It expands on a similar bill that Newsom signed into law in 2019 that required K-12 schools to update the diplomas and transcripts of former students to reflect their chosen names and gender identities.

Chiu said the latest bill would remove one of the many barriers faced by transgender and nonbinary students that can be worsened if student records don’t reflect their names and genders, for instance when they apply for jobs or graduate school. Use of birth names on the official documents can also reveal those who may not want to be “outed” as transgender or nonbinary, he said.


He said colleges often have different processes for updating student records after graduation that would be standardized under his bill. Many reflect students’ chosen names and genders in some documents but not always diplomas.

After graduation, former students would have to show just one form of legal identification, such as a driver’s license, state identification card, birth certificate, passport, social security card, or court order showing a change in name or gender.