Academics: Classes and Communicating with Your Professors
Do I have to come out to my professors as trans or gender non-conforming?
No. Students are never required to come out to professors (or anyone else). However, you may want to inform your professors, particularly if you want them to refer to you by your name and pronouns in class. See below for tips on how to come out to professors.
If you want to talk about coming out to professors or others, you can contact Center staff for assistance.
What are some tips for coming out to my professors as trans or gender non-conforming?
If you want to come out to your professors, you can do it in whatever way makes you most comfortable, be it in-person at their office hours, in an email, etc.
Many students find emailing a professor the week before classes start to be a preferable way to come out. If you are going to email your professor, here are some tips for how to do that.
Tips and Sample Email to a Professor or TA:
- List the course name and what section (days
and time) you are in (i.e. ASHME 321, 2:30-3:20 MWF). Professors often
teach many classes at once, so this will help them identify which class
roster you are talking about.
- State your legal name.
- State your preferred name.
- State the pronouns you would like them to call you by in class. (“I
would appreciate it if you called me by she, her, and hers pronouns in
class” or “The pronouns I use are they, them, and theirs, and this is
how I would like you to refer to me in class.”)
- Clarify if there are any situations when you do not want to be
called by your preferred name and pronouns. (“I would like to be called
[preferred name] and referred to with he, him, and his pronouns in
class, but please refer to me by [legal name] and she, her, and hers
pronouns outside of class because I am not out as trans everywhere.”)
- Provide them with your contact information.
- Provide links to resources on the Center website if they have questions about supporting trans students. (This is a nice thing for you to do, but certainly not required.)
- Thank them for being understanding.
Sample Email to a Professor:
Dear Professor [last name of professor]
My name is [your preferred name], and I will be attending your [name of course] class on [days] at [time] this semester. I am contacting you to let you know that my name will show up on your roster as [legal name], but I would prefer to go by [preferred name]. I am transgender and do not identify with my legal name. I will be putting [preferred name] on my assignments and would appreciate it if you called me by this name and use the pronouns [the pronouns you use] to refer to me in class.
If you have questions about this change to your roster, you can ask me directly at my email address here: [your email address]. For more information about preferred names, pronouns, and transgender identities, you can visit the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success website or contact their staff.
Thank you very much for your understanding. I’m looking forward to starting your class next week.