Transitioning at Carolina

A Guide for Transgender and Nonbinary Students

This guide is designed to help transgender and nonbinary students at Carolina navigate services they may or may not want to utilize during or after social, medical and/or legal transition.

Policies and services are presented to assist with identifying preferred name, changing one’s name in UNC records, changing ones gender marker in UNC records, or how to change legal name and/or gender marker on government issued documents.

Terms to Know:

(The way these terms are defined are for the purpose of understanding the following instructions. These are not necessarily the most complete or widely used definitions.)

Legal Name

The name that is on a person’s government issued forms of identification (e.g., Driver’s license, Passport, Birth Certificate, ID card, One Card).

Legal names are considered a student’s primary name and used across the campus for many purposes such as One Card and transcripts. Legal name is used on campus directory and class rosters if a preferred name has not been identified. Legal name is also used externally for enrollment verification reporting (e.g., enrollment verification for employment, insurance, or loans).

Legal Gender

The gender marker (e.g., Male, Female, or X) that is on a person’s government issued forms of identification (e.g., Driver’s license, Passport, Birth Certificate, ID card, One Card).

Legal Transition

Changing the name or gender marker on legal documents such as government issued identification documents (e.g., driver’s license, birth certificate, passport).

Medical Transition

The process of using hormone therapy, electrolysis, surgical or other medical interventions to live in accordance with one’s gender identity and desired gender expression.

Official Academic Record

A student's official academic record reflects the name and gender the student indicated on the application for admission to the University.  No documentation is required at the time of that designation. For post-enrollment changes see Campus Resources: General Alumni Association (DAVIE Records).

Preferred Name, Pronouns, and Gender Identity

UNC Chapel Hill provides students the opportunity to identify what they call a “preferred name” in Connect Carolina. This can be done without any legal documentation. Preferred names are used across campus in conjunction with the primary name.  For example, in Sakai and on class rosters.

Preferred gender and pronouns can also be identified in Connect Carolina, but as of March 2021 are not yet integrated with other campus services.

This does not change the name shown as your legal name in university records. For post-graduation changes see Campus Resources: General Alumni Association (DAVIE Records).

Section 1: Navigating Campus Resources

Office of the University Registrar

This is the first stop for students to make changes on campus. Best contact: Christy Samford, Deputy Registrar.

Students who wish to change the name or gender designation in their official academic record must provide to the Office of the Registrar a state or federal identification (e.g., driver's license, passport, birth certificate) reflecting the name and gender marker to which they want their record changed. For situations where an application for a passport or other approved identification with the new information has been made submitted but is not yet complete, please contact the LGBTQ Center.

Changing Legal Name in Campus Record

A name change form is available online and documentation information. 

Option 1: In-Person

Go in person to the registrar’s office on the 3rd floor of SASB North and bring the following documentation:

  • Court Order of name change
  • New NC driver’s license
  • Note: if you have been an employee of UNC in the previous year, they will need an updated social security card
Option 2: Email

Email [email protected] and provide the following information:

  • Name currently on file
  • PID
  • Date of Birth
  • Name to which you are changing the records
  • Gender to which you are changing the records

Changing Preferred Name in Campus Record

Students have the option to set a preferred name in Connect Carolina self-service. 

Preferred names are used across campus in conjunction with the primary name.  For example, in Sakai and on class rosters.  Setting this ahead of graduation will aid in the process of getting a diploma printed with a preferred name.

Instructions: Login to ConnectCarolina > Go to "Student" tab > Click "Personal Information" tile > Click the "+" icon.

Changing Name to be Printed on Diploma

Best contact: Christy Samford, Deputy Registrar

Contact either Christy Samford or the LGBTQ Center, whichever feels most comfortable, to begin this process.

Changing Legal Gender in Campus Record

Students with legal (government issued) documentation showing a change in gender can contact the Office of the University Registrar ([email protected]) to update their legal gender in the student information system.  Legal gender is not widely used across campus, but is required for some services and reported externally.  Students in transition without legal documentation can work with the LGBTQ Center to make accommodations where needed.

Carolina (Campus) Housing

Best contact: Steven Wiley, Assistant Director of Assignments

Carolina Housing supports all students regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

All bedrooms in hall style, suites, and apartments will be assigned to students of the same sex.  For the purpose of room assignment, sex refers to an individual’s sex (male or female) as indicated on the official student record maintained by the Registrar’s Office. 

Except for areas specifically designated as single sex, suite and apartment buildings will offer male only and female only rooms on all floors because there are private bathrooms with showers in each suite and apartment.

Hall style buildings will offer male and female rooms on all floors unless the floor has shared community bathrooms/showering areas which are intended for residents of the same sex or it is a floor/building specifically designated as single sex.  Carolina Housing is in the process of converting the community bathroom/shower areas in hall style buildings to private bathroom pods as it allows for additional flexibility with room assignments. 

Pride Place

Pride Place is a residential community committed to the personal wellness and academic success of students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. One goal of the program is the creation of a residential community in which every student feels safe, included, and empowered. As residents, students will learn about the LGBTQ+ community at Carolina and its many intersections, build relationships, and actively engage in the community.

Break and Summer Housing

To learn more about break and summer session housing visit:

Campus Health

Campus Health downloads information from the registrar’s office so once that record is changed the name should automatically update in their records.

Hormone Therapy at Campus Health

Best Contact: Campus Health appointment line

  • 919-966-2281
  • Ask for an appointment specifically for transition related hormone therapy or transgender care.

Hormone therapy is available through Campus Health using an informed consent protocol. This means there is no requirement for students to present a letter from a mental health professional in order to begin hormone therapy. The provider seen would perform an initial assessment, coordinate care, and provide secondary consultation if necessary.

Avery Cook from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available to meet with anyone who wants to speak with a counselor about transition related hormone therapy but there is no requirement that you do so to pursue treatment. Email Avery at [email protected] and ask to schedule an appointment for transition related matters.

UNC Transgender Health Program

Best contact: [email protected] or 1-833-UNC-TRNS

The UNC Transgender Health Program was established this year with the primary purpose of assisting patients who need gender-affirming care navigate a complex healthcare system and connect to the services they need. The Transgender Health Program acts as a primary point of contact for trans patients and can provide referrals for medical, surgical, and mental health services with vetted, gender-affirming providers. This program is separate from campus health but is available to students.

Campus Recreation

All eligible Intramural Sports participants may participate in accordance with their personal gender identity. For more information see Campus Rec's Transgender Participation Guidelines.

General Alumni Association (DAVIE Records)

Best contact: Rachel Orr, Assistant Director of Alumni Records

Documentation Needed: None

Section 2: State and Federal Document Changes

Assistance and Resources

Carolina Student Legal Services

CSLS is a non-profit law firm on campus serving UNC students. They can assist with legal name changes. The best contact is Lauren Shoffner, Staff Attorney; schedule with her via Kate Bell, Legal Assistant at [email protected].

LGBTQ Center of Durham Name Change Navigators

This service is offered to help members of the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community change their legal name. Folks under 18 will need parental permission to process a legal name change. Navigators are most familiar with the process in Durham, Wake, and Orange counties, though they will be happy to talk to residents of other counties. One of the LGBTQ Center of Durham's Gender Identity programs.

TransLine: Transgender Medical Consultation Articles

TransLine has a number of help articles on changing identity documents, including on social security cards and birth certificates.

Social Security Requirements

Changing Legal Name

You must submit the following information, in person, at a Social Security Office near you. Go to for a listing of locations.

  • A document showing your previous name and an identifiable feature such as your date of birth, age, or social security number and a document showing your current name and the same identifiable feature. For example you can show your social security card with your previous name and your license with your current name if your license has your Social Security Number on it. You could also show your birth certificate with your previous name and your license with your current name.
  • A document showing your previous and current names listed together, such as the court order for your name change.

Changing Legal Gender

To change the sex identification on your Social Security record, you do not need to provide medical or legal evidence of your sex designation.

You will need to provide evidence to prove your identity, and sometimes citizenship or immigration status. The sex identification, if shown on your evidence document, can be binary (male or female) or non-binary (such as X). The sex identification does not have to match the sex identification currently on your Social Security record, or the sex identification you request.

Currently, record systems require a sex designation of female or male, and cannot accommodate a non-binary or unspecified sex designation, such as X. SSA is examining ways to address this in the future. For more details please see

Passport Change Requirements

Changing Legal Name in Passport

Required Documentation:

  • A completed DS-5504 Passport Re-Application Form which is downloadable
  • A certified copy of a marriage certificate or name change court degree to prove that your name has legally changed.
  • Your current passport.

There is no fee unless you need your passport immediately.

Mail all of this information to the following address:

Charleston Passport Center

Attention: Amendments

1269 Holland Street

Charleston, SC 29405

Changing Legal Gender in Passport

You can now select the gender you would like printed on your U.S. passport, even if the gender you select does not match the gender on your supporting documentation such as a birth certificate, previous passport, or state ID. There is no longer require medical certification required to change the gender marker on your U.S. passport.

To request a new passport with a different gender than the one you have on your current passport, or if you are applying for your first passport, submit a new application and select your preferred gender marker. Follow the steps on this page to learn which form to submit. You can select “M” or “F” which are the gender markers currently available. We are working to add a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons as soon as possible.

Selective Service Requirements

Legally Transitioning from Female to Male

You do not need to register with the Selective Service

You do need to receive a letter from the Selective Service stating their exemption if they were born after January 1st, 1960 for the following reasons:

  • Technically, “a man who fails to register may, if prosecuted and convicted, face a fine of up to $25,000 and/or a prison term of up to five years.”
  • While chances of prosecution are extremely slim, an FTM trans person who is legally male and does not register for the draft by age 26 and does not have an exemption letter may find that “some doors are permanently closed”. These doors include student financial aid, federal employment, federal job training, and US citizenship.

In order to get a letter of exemption, you may be required to send in documentation that proves you were born female (such as an un-amended birth certificate or hospital birth record) to the Selective Service along with a “Status Information Letter Request” (this form can be found at

The exemption letter they send back clearly states that you are exempt from the draft but does not give any information as to why.

Legally Transitioning from Male to Female

You must still register with selective service.

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