Index > Trans(gender) Student Policy Related to Gender Identity/Expression

Trans(gender) Student Policy Related to Gender Identity/Expression

In order to provide support to transgender and gender variant students who, for whatever reason, need special accommodations due to gender identity/expression, we encourage students to speak with the Office of Intercultural Student Engagement (ISE) which can help students with navigating the policies and practices of the college.


RISD is committed to having safe and accessible campus restrooms. Gender-inclusive (GI) restrooms are available in most campus buildings. Gender-inclusive restrooms provide a safe and comfortable facility for all, regardless of gender identity and expression. RISD’s GI restrooms are single-stall lockable restrooms that are labeled appropriately and new signs meet accessibility regulations in accordance to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ISE provides a complete directory of GI restrooms on campus.

If you find that any of the GI restrooms listed in our directory or on campus are labeled incorrectly, please contact Intercultural Student Engagement.

Residence Life

RISD does not restrict roommate pairings based on sex, gender identity or expression. This means that any student can choose to live with any other student, regardless of sex, gender identity or gender expression in a shared room. However, the Residence Life office will only honor a request made mutually by all parties. Roommates of opposite sexes are never randomly assigned. Those who are interested in gender-inclusive housing options, should email Housing Coordinator, Carly Tryens at ( for a personal and confidential assessment of the available options to fit individual needs. View the full Gender-Inclusive Housing Policy.

Records and Documents

Name Change

A certified copy of a court order or documentation from a health professional that a gender change is underway is required if a change in gender and name is to be recorded on a student’s official record (transcripts, academic records, financial aid, etc.). The college recognizes that as a community many of its members use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. As long as the use of this different name is not for the purposes of misrepresentation, the College acknowledges that a "preferred name" can and should be used wherever possible in the course of College business and education.

A legal name change needs to happen through the state of the person’s legal residence (in RI, it’s done at the town level). In any state a person can change their name to anything, as long as they are not trying to escape past debts or picking the name of a famous person. A note from a doctor/surgeon/psychologist is NOT required. Once the name is changed with the home town/city, the person can go to the local Social Security office to get a new Social Security card, and then use that to change everything else, including a driver’s license or state-issued ID.

Campus In-Use Name

The college recognizes that as a community many of its members use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. As long as the use of this different name is not for the purposes of misrepresentation, the College acknowledges that a "preferred name" can and should be used wherever possible in the course of College business and education. To learn more about the complete campus-in use policy and to designate a preferred name, please visit the Chosen Name Policy.

In order to change your name on institutional records such as your transcript please follow instructions outlined in the change of name procedure located on the Registrar’s Website.


Having a "sex" category on forms that is limited to "Male" and "Female" makes trans* students feel disregarded, and with no means to identify themselves, they remain invisible to administrators and their needs continue to be overlooked. With these concerns in mind, most college departments have added an open-ended “gender” question to provide students the opportunity to more accurately express themselves across the gender spectrum/continuum.

Directories & Identification

Email Account

Once you complete a Change of Name Form with the Registrar’s Office and it is approved, you may contact the Information Technology Service Desk ( to request an update to your email display name with your preferred name. Please note that your actual username ( always remains the same from the initial creation, typically from your original legal name. You can request this change by contacting IT Service desk directly at 401 454-6767 or emailing (


We recognize that it is important for your college identification card to reflect your current appearance and name. In order to meet this need, we offer the following options:

  • If you have legally changed your name and have changed your name with the Registrar’s office, you can obtain a new ID card with your new name for $5.00 from Card Services.
  • If you have not yet changed your name, you can obtain an ID card that only lists your first initial and your last name, contact Card Services.
  • If you have set a preferred name in Web Advisor, you may be able to use your preferred name on your ID card, Contact Card Services.

RISD does not discriminate on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. RISD is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all students. If you have noticed something that could help to make the campus more transgender-friendly, please feel free to contact one of the offices below:

Intercultural Student Engagement

Carr House, 210 Benefit Street, 2nd Floor
401 277-4957

Residence Life

30 Waterman Street
401 454-6650

Student Affairs

Carr House, 210 Benefit Street, 3rd Floor
401 454-6600

Public Safety

30 Waterman Street, South Hall
general: 401 454-6376 | emergency: 401 454-6666

Policy Definitions

Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming

Anyone whose gender identity and/or gender expression does not match society's expectations of how an individual who was assigned a particular sex at birth should behave in relation to their gender.

Gender Identity

An individual's sense of being either male or female, man or woman, or something other in-between.

Gender Spectrum

A linear model, ranging from 100% male to 100% female, with various states of androgyny in between. The gender continuum or matrix is a multidimensional extension of the spectrum that includes additional gender identities outside of the spectrum. Both terms challenge the traditional notion of the gender binary, in which only male or female genders are acknowledged.

Gender Expression

The external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as masculine or feminine, such as dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions.

Biological or Legal Sex

The sex legally assigned to an individual at birth, usually reflected in a birth certificate.


This includes a prefix such as "Mr.", "Mrs.," "Miss" and "Ms." Legal Name - The name legally given to an individual, which may be memorialized on a birth certificate, a court order, or certificate of naturalization.

Preferred First Name and Pronoun

The name and pronoun used by a transgender student that corresponds to the student's gender identity/expression.