For some time now, Ben Boudreau, a second-year sciences student at Concordia, has been pushing the administration to allow trans students to be identified by their preferred name on all university documents, rather than by their legal name. Boudreau’s cause merits more awareness, and ultimately, widespread support.
In December, The Concordian published an article detailing Boudreau’s struggles to have the name “Ben Boudreau” appear on his transcript. The struggle was all the more important because Boudreau, quite understandably, did not want his legal name – a name that doesn’t identify him at all – to be used by professors taking attendance. He has since been working alongside CSU councillors as well as with the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy to shed more light on this issue and have the Senate do something about it.
During the Daybreak interview, Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota indicated that at the moment, there is very little the university can do when it comes to guidelines regarding names on transcripts, explaining that the Quebec government requires universities to use a student’s legal name on all official documents.
Here, of course, lies the major problem. The Quebec government has still not caught up to the fact that there are many people in today’s society, be they trans students or students with foreign names preferring to go by something else, who do not wish to use their legal name. Ever. It is a name that should never be associated with them, as it no longer describes the person they have come to be.
The process to change legal names is a whole other bureaucratic battle, one that could take longer than a student’s time at university. So while that red tape is being cut, the Quebec government should recognize that students have a right to their own name, and allow them to use it whenever and on whatever document they like.