Cornell University is committed to creating a safe and respectful campus for all members of our community including those of all gender identities. The following information provides general guidelines for specific areas of campus life related to gender identity & gender expression. You can also find resources linked here from other great providers of transgender care and education. The LGBT Resource Center thanks the students, staff, and faculty who have contributed to the development of these procedures and content displayed on this page. If you know of updates or other information that should be added to this page, please contact the LGBT Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cornell University’s official non-discrimination policy includes the protection of "sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression."
Please check out our quick guide on "how-to" utilize Gender Inclusive Pronouns.
Check out the Terminology Guide to learn more about the Trans community.
Restroom/Facilities Use Guidelines
In keeping with the University’s policy of nondiscrimination and the commitment to inclusion, the University allows students, staff, faculty, and visitors to use the restroom or facility that corresponds to their gender identity*. In addition, the University maintains a number of universal restrooms across campus to address restroom facility access not necessarily related to gender identity, such as access for parents with children and for other attendants/caregivers. These facilities are all-gender, accessible spaces, which may include amenities for families such as baby changing stations.
*Gender identity refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender. A person’s gender identity may be different from or the same as the person’s sex assigned at birth
Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes and Out for Health have created an app, Pee in Peace, that details the locations of gender friendly restrooms throughout the Ithaca area. This app includes downtown Ithaca, Cornell's campus, and Ithaca College's campus. To learn more about the app, visit: http://peeinpeace.org/
Cornell is committed to accommodating transgender students in on-campus housing. Gender-inclusive housing is a policy that affords Cornell students the option to live on campus with whomever they choose, regardless of biological sex, gender, or gender identity. Learn more about Gender-Inclusive Housing. Learn about other housing options.
Preferred and/or Chosen Name
E-Mail Display Name
Blackboard Name Change
Blackboard is a Course Management System used by Cornell. Once you have an account:
Student ID Cards
Other Official Records
If you don’t feel comfortable talking directly to your professors, you can set a preferred name with Student Essentials as noted above and disclose your pronouns with them on the first day (until you can have your gender marker changed). If you would like to be sure your professors refer to you correctly on the first day and you feel comfortable being in touch with them directly, you can email them ahead of time explaining your situation. Something to consider: In large lecture classes, you most likely won’t be addressed by your professors and your name and pronouns will therefore not come up. However, you may be interacting much more closely with your Teaching Assistants (TAs) so it may be important to reach out to them. Please note, this section was developed by a student member of the Cornell community and provides a helpful statement for connecting with your faculty.
Below is a generic email template:
Change Legal Name or Preferred Name in Workday:
1) Click on the Personal Data icon and then click either Change Legal Name or Preferred Name, as applicable.
2) When changing your Legal Name, please take note:
3) When changing your Preferred Name, please take note:
4) Important: Once you are finished, remember to click Submit, otherwise your will not take effect.
Make sure your name is the way you like it in the Office 365 email and calendar system. By default, the Office 365 email and calendar system uses your legal first, middle, and last name. If you would rather use a nickname or a name that is different from your legal name, please visit here.
Your NetID can be changed only after you have submitted your name change request to Human Resources and they have processed your request. To learn more, visit here.
An employee must go to their local HR person to change their gender marker. No documentation is necessary.
Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation fields in Workday:
Click here to view instructions. For other questions related to LGBT issues, contact the Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity at email@example.com or the LGBT Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions related about how to make updates in Workday can be directed to the help desk at email@example.com.
The LGBT Resource Center at Cornell provides resources on the legal name change process in our county, as well as the process for changing other identity documents with name and gender marker (driver's license, passport, birth certificate, etc). Resources for students changing their name or identity documents in other states are also available.
The LGBT Center at Ithaca College also partnered with Out for Health, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes LGBT Health & Wellness initiative, to create an awesome new booklet that has information on every process for changing your name and gender marker on important identity documents. To learn more about the policies and procedures, please visit Know-How Booklet and Forms.
Cornell Health provides confidential primary-care medical services, counseling and physiological services to all Cornell students.
The University’s CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services Center) counselors and therapists are also highly skilled and knowledgeable in serving transgender students and come recommended from the LGBT Resource Center. In addition to our campus counselors and therapists at CAPS, there are also a number of knowledgeable, transgender affirmative therapists locally. Ask CAPS or the LGBT Resource Center for information about referrals.
The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program provides confidential counseling and consultation services to Cornell Employees.
Cornell's Student Health (SHP) is a comprehensive plan designed to support the health and well-being of Cornell students (and their partners) of all identities. Aetna Student Health is the provider of the Cornell SHP.
Hormonal and surgical services to support the process of gender identity confirmation are covered by SHP in accordance with Aetna's Clinical Policy Bulletin 0615. (Search "transgender" in the SHP Member's Guide). For specific information, review the Aetna Clinical Policy Bulletin: Gender Reassignment Surgery.
NOTE: At the top of this bulletin you will read: "Most Aetna plans exclude coverage of sex change surgery (gender reassignment surgery, transgender surgery) or any treatment of gender identity disorders. Please check benefit plan descriptions." The Cornell Student Health Plan is not one of those plans that excludes coverage.
Endowed health plans include hormone therapy and certain medical procedures related to gender identity confirmation procedures. The Aetna Clinical Policy Bulletin #0615 guides the medically necessary treatment protocol; treatments that are considered cosmetic in nature are not covered.
The Empire Health Plan – a New York state-supported plan used by the contract college faculty and staff – does not offer gender confirmation surgery and several other therapeutic treatments. Benefit Services does not anticipate an early adoption of these therapies in the Empire Health Plan.
Even if you aren't a student (or if you want to use off-campus health services as a student), the Ithaca community has a number of great resources for transgender health.
Located in downtown Ithaca, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes has hormone therapy and preventive health services for transgender people. This is not a campus service, but a service provided in the local community. There is a fee for this service but if finances are a concern these can be discussed before one's first appointment. A person may become a new patient if they are seeking transgender related health care for the first time — or, if they are already being seen by a medical provider in their home community or their previous town that is providing transgender related health services to them, they may transfer their care and their records to this office so that they have a local provider here. You can reach them at (607) 273-1513 to request an appointment or request additional information.
The Planned Parenthood website also includes an awesome new booklet that has information on every process for changing your name and information as a transgender person!
One of the only programs like it in the country, the Voice and Communication Modification Program at Ithaca College focuses on developing voice, articulation, non-verbal communication, language, voice-related quality of life, and self-perception. It's open to both male to female and female to male transgender people. Community members have to pay a nominal fee and must sign up in advance to be a part of this group.
Information and Brochure about the Voice and Communication Modification Program
Cornell's LGBT Center, Ithaca College's LGBT Center, and Out for Health jointly support a transgender support group for people in the Ithaca area. You can find more information here or by contacting Cornell's LGBT Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Offers telephone or in-office consultation regarding questions of rights, disputes, alleged violation of anti-discrimination laws which provide protection in the areas of employment, housing, credit, public accommodation, and public, non-sectarian educational institutions.
No student is expected to navigate this process on their own. Anyone seeking resources can first make contact with the LGBT Resource Center for support through the appropriate steps. The LGBT Resource Center thanks the LGBT Center at Ithaca College for sharing resources in creating the structure of this page.