Governor Orders NYU to Offer ‘Gender X’ and Fictitious ‘Chosen’ Names in the Name of Equality

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Homosexual in a pink female dress. A man in make-up.

If your name is John Smith, and you’re a biological male, you can now identify as Aurora Borealis, an X gendered student at NYU according to a new order issued by New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

On Monday, Hochul announced that the State University of New York Board of Trustees directed all 64 SUNY campuses to update their policies regarding the use of a chosen name and pronouns to ensure that transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students’ identities are fully reflected and represented in campus systems.

“This historic change is the next step taken in SUNY’s mission to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for students within the LGBTQIA+ community,” Hochul said.

It also includes a “Chosen Name” policy, meaning students can fully identify as whoever or whatever they want on campus.

“SUNY’s new chosen name and pronoun policy being rolled out at all 64 SUNY campuses will provide all students with access to a welcoming higher education environment where they can be themselves,” Lieutenant Governor Delgado said“By providing equity for all SUNY students, New York is once again proving that we are the nation’s leader when it comes to forward-thinking policies that advance acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community.” 

“Every person, regardless of their gender identity or the name they choose to go by, deserves to have identity documentation that reflects who they are,” Governor Hochul said. “This historic change by the SUNY system is a victory in our ongoing fight to ensure that New York is a place of love and belonging. My administration remains committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure equality and respect for the LGBTQIA+ community.” 

SUNY campuses are required to have all operational systems reflect a student’s chosen name and pronouns in any instance consistent with federal law where a student is comfortable sharing such information.

The student’s chosen name and pronouns will appear in campus portals, class rosters, student email addresses, and more. With Governor Hochul’s recent announcement that New Yorkers can select ‘X’ as a gender marker on their driver’s license, SUNY students are additionally able to select ‘X’ when asked to provide gender by the college.

According to Campus Pride, “Allowing students to use a chosen name is a best practice to support transgender and gender-nonconforming students. A 2018 study of 500 transgender college youth identified the top actions that the students valued to create an inclusive campus climate as the ability to use chosen names on campus records, gender-inclusive restrooms, and non-discrimination policies.”


Full implementation of any necessary IT or operational changes to align with SUNY’s chosen name policies must occur by the start of the Fall 2023 semester; the Gender X policy must be implemented by the end of 2022.