BGSU allows preferred names on BG1 ID cards


Chosen names – Photo by Andrew Bailey

Dawn Violet Todd and Dawn Violet Todd

On Oct. 18, BGSU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs announced that students can now display their chosen name on BG1 student ID cards.

This change has been ushered in primarily to support BGSU’s transgender, nonbinary and genderqueer students as part of a larger campaign to make people’s chosen names display in as many places as possible, rather than their legal name. These efforts have been going on for multiple years, and options to display chosen names have been incorporated onto platforms like MyBGSU, Canvas and many others that students use regularly.

Student IDs are just the latest in this ongoing work, which is being spearheaded by Dr. Katie Stygles, the director of Multicultural Affairs and LGBTQ+ Programs.

“It’s been about seven or eight years in the making,” she said.

According to Stygles, this process has required involvement from offices like ITS and the Registrar, and it has presented many technical and logistical challenges.

“I don’t think there was ever real opposition to it,” she said. “I think it was just grappling with the different potential roadblocks.”

One of those roadblocks has been determining which systems are most important to update, with potentially hundreds of services linked to BGSU that might display a student’s name.

Stygles said a decision was made early on to prioritize work on services like class rosters and BG1 cards.

“They got to the point that we said we don’t want to slow these things down by waiting until everything is ready at the same time,” she said.

Stygles says they’ve had support on this and other efforts aimed at supporting LGBTQ+ students. 

“I never felt like there was a need to convince people that this was something worth putting resources into,” she said, adding that the time it took for the changes to occur was not for lack of care or effort. “I genuinely think it was just the difficulty and scope of the project that meant that it happened in 2021 instead of 2016.”

Getting a replacement BG1 card costs $25. While it isn’t feasible to do for every student, Stygles stated that the OMA is currently working to “support students for whom getting a new ID card printed with chosen name is aligned with affirming their gender identity.”

Students in that position who may need financial support can fill out the online form, found on the following page:

Alternatively, students can contact the OMA directly by e-mail at [email protected] or the LGBTQ+ Resource Center by phone at 419-372-2642.

Using someone’s chosen name is important, especially for transgender individuals whose legal name may not necessarily match their chosen name.

“No student should have to be mis-named or mis-gendered while they’re getting their coffee or sitting in class,” Stygles said. “Anything that we can do as an institution to make that less likely to happen is for me a really important priority.”