Transitioning at Williams

Williams utilizes trans* as an umbrella term for people who transgress or transcend our normative notions of gender. This term includes but is not limited to those who identify as transgender, transsexual, bigender, gender queer, gender fluid, two spirit, cross dressers, and gender benders.

  • Health & Psych Services

    Student Health

    The Health Center is here to serve ALL students and works closely with trans* students to make sure that they get any services they need in a safe and welcoming environment.

    Psych Services at Williams

    Psych Services is here to serve ALL students and works closely with trans* students to make sure that they get any services they need in a safe and welcoming environment.

  • Hormone Options

    Some trans* people decide to take hormones as part of their transition. It’s very important that you get your hormones from a health professional and that you are being monitored to make sure that the hormones are safe for you. Your health professional and therapist can talk with you about the risks associated with hormones, what changes to expect, and provide emotional support. Most therapists use the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards.

    The new standards require that a health professional conduct a psychosocial assessment and get the informed consent of the individual before making a referral to an endocrinologist or other hormone provider, who will actually prescribe the hormones. The criteria for hormone therapy are:

    • Persistent, well-documented gender dysphoria
    • Capacity to make a fully informed decision and to consent for treatment
    • Age of majority in a given country
    • If significant medical or mental health concerns are present, they must be reasonably well-controlled

    Other therapists operate under an informed consent model, in which they will see you for one visit and carefully go over the risks and effects of hormones. The first step in obtaining hormones is to visit a therapist or counselor. They will help you in figuring out which path to hormones will be the healthiest for you.

    The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center keeps a list of doctors who provide initial hormone therapy services in the area, please check out that list here (Hormone Therapy in the Berkshires). This list is not an endorsement of quality of care or services, it is a meant as an information resource only.

  • Housing

    For first year students: First-year students live in “entries” of approximately twenty-five students, headed by a pair of Junior Advisors (JAs). First-year students are housed in both singles and doubles, and each building has common rooms. You will be able to identify your gender when filling out your housing forms before getting to campus.  Trans* students can live with whatever gender they feel most comfortable with, you just need to indicate your preference on your housing forms.  If you have questions, please contact Gail RondeauStudent Housing Coordinator.

    For upperclass students: Williams has gender inclusive housing, meaning that students can pick into housing with people of any gender. Upperclass students can choose from a variety of residence halls of different configurations and sizes within their respective Neighborhood.  Seniors also have the option of co-op housing and living off-campus.

  • Name Change

    Transgender students chosen name:
    Williams offers support to transgender students who have not yet legally changed their name but would like to use a chosen name. The Registrar’s Office can arrange to have your chosen name appear in most non-private situations across the College, including email, class lists, and directories. Security can also provide you with a College ID that shows your chosen name.

    Your legal name will continue to appear on legal documents like the transcript, College bills, paychecks, and financial aid reports. If you are planning to legally change your name in the future, there are advantages to doing so before you graduate. Mary Morrison, Associate Registrar, can fully describe the College’s policies, and the Davis Center staff are always here for support as well.

    More on Campus Name Change policy is available at the Registrar’s Office.

     


    To get a legal name change in MA

    The information below is provided to give you a rough idea on the legal process in the State of MA to change your name. (last updated: 2/13/12)

    In order to file for a legal name change, you need to go to probate/family court in your county. Probate Court locations can be found here.

    Paperwork needed:

    • A certified copy of your birth certificate
    • If applicable: any previous name change decrees
    • Name Change Petition Form

    Name Change Petition Form

    You can get the form at the probate court, or you can download a copy of the form here.

    You are the petitioner: fill in your current legal name and address

    Reason for change: Some people choose to write: “common usage,” “personal” or “it’s the name that I use.”

    To change your name you do NOT need:

    • to be on hormones;
    • to have surgery;
    • to have a note from a therapist.

    As long as you are not changing your name in order to commit fraud, you have the right to change your name either through a court process or through “common usage.”

    If you are changing your first and last name you maybe required to put a notice in the newspaper. This is a separate charge and you can usually choose which paper to use for this.

    Each probate court has different process for handling name changes — in some courts you may go before a judge or before a judge’s clerk; in other courts, the judge looks at the petitioner’s paperwork outside his/her/hir presence. You may be able to finish everything that day or the Clerk’s office may ask you to return in two weeks or so. If you face difficulty changing your name as a result of a criminal record, you may wish to contact a lawyer.

    Fees

    The fee for a name change is $165 as of 2008 and may continue to rise over time. However, the fee should not prohibit anyone from changing their name.

    Extra copies:

    You will likely want to obtain several certified copies of your legal name change in order to change the documents listed below, and to change bank accounts, health insurance, student records, and any other changes you need to make.

    Change your name with Social Security Office

    All documents you bring to Social Security need to be originals or certified copies by the issuing agency. You can find the nearest SSA office at the Social Security website.

    Paperwork needed:

    1. Fill out a Form SS-5 (download it here), “Application for a Social Security Card.” (This form is also available at SSA office)
    2. Proof of legal name change: A legal name change document, such as a court ordered name change or marriage certificate (if you changed your name through marriage). The document must have the old name and new name listed on it. If it does not have enough identifying information, SSA will request an identity document in your prior name and another in your new legal name in addition to the name change document. (Massachusetts issued court-ordered name changes list old and new name)
    3. If you were born outside of the U.S., you also need to prove your U.S. citizenship or current lawful, work-authorized immigration status.
    4. If you are a U.S. citizen and have not previously established citizenship with SSA, you will need to present a birth certificate, U.S. passport, or other proof of citizenship.

    Change your name on MA state-issued ID such as driver’s license or MA ID card

    All documents you bring to RMV need to be originals or certified copies by the issuing agency.

    Paperwork needed:

    1. Proof of legal name change – A court order showing your legal name change.
    2. Your Social Security Card with your new legal name change
    3. Cash for the RMV fee. (check RMV site here for current fees).

    Although changing your name on driver’s license is standard procedure for RMV employees, there have been some incidents where a clerk has tried to deny a name change (often through ignorance rather than malice). As long as you have all the necessary legal paperwork the employee is forbidden from denying your name change. The RMV does not have the authority to ignore a Court Order.

    If the clerk denies your name change, ask to speak with a supervisor. Record the name of the clerk, date, time, and reason you were given for the denial. Record the name, date, time, and outcome of speaking with the supervisor. If the supervisor refuses to change your name, ask to speak with the RMV branch manager, and again record name, date, time and outcome.

    Most of the above information is from MTPC’s Legal Name Change Kit

  • US Passports

    If you want to change your name and gender on your passport, refer to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Understanding the New Passport Gender Change Policy.

     

    All documents need to be originals or certified copies by the issuing agency. See here for more information.

    If you have a current valid passport less than one year old:

    1. A completed application for a U.S. Passport: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement Form DS-5504, which you can download here.
    2. A certified copy of a marriage certificate or name change court decree to prove that your name has legally changed.
    3. Your current passport
    4. Two new photos
    5. Using the DS-5044 form, there is no fee unless you need your passport immediately.

    Using US Postal Service, mail all of this information to:
    National Passport Processing
    P.O. Box 13290
    Philadelphia, PA 19101-3290

    If your passport is older than one year:

    1. A completed DS-82 form (Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail), which you can download here.
    2. A certified copy of a marriage certificate or name change court decree to prove that your name has legally changed.
    3. Your current passport.
    4. Two new photos.
    5. You will have to pay all of the fees associated with getting a new passport.

    Using US Postal Service, mail all of this information to:
    National Passport Processing
    P.O. Box 371971
    Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7971