New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday that the board of trustees for State University of New York has directed all of its 64 campuses to update their policies to include the use of preferred pronouns and a chosen name to ensure that transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students' identities are fully reflected and represented in campus systems.
"Every person, regardless of their gender identity or the name they choose to go by, deserves to have identity documentation that reflects who they are," Hochul said in a press release. "This historic change by the SUNY system is a victory in our ongoing fight to ensure that New York is a place of love and belonging. My administration remains committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure equality and respect for the LGBTQIA+ community."
New York Lt. Gov. Delgado said the change ensures that all members of the LGBTQ community are welcome on campus.
"SUNY's new chosen name and pronoun policy being rolled out at all 64 SUNY campuses will provide all students with access to a welcoming higher education environment where they can be themselves," Delgado said. "By providing equity for all SUNY students, New York is once again proving that we are the nation's leader when it comes to forward-thinking policies that advance acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community."
The announcement comes as individuals across the nation celebrate Pride Month, which is historically the entire month of June.
The press release states that campuses will be required to have all operational systems reflect a student's chosen name and pronouns in any instance consistent with federal law where a student is comfortable sharing such information.
The student's chosen name and pronouns will appear in campus portals, class rosters, student email addresses, and more. Students will be able to select 'X' when asked to provide gender by the college.
"An inclusive chosen name and pronoun policy doesn't only help students feel safer on campus—it is also a matter of respect. This is the next concrete step toward ensuring SUNY's current and future transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students feel embraced and uplifted. To those students and families who are seeing an unprecedented effort to roll back LGBTQIA+ rights and opportunities in other states, we want you to know that New York State and SUNY's 64 colleges and universities intend only to move forward."
SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley said that the change will allow "current and future transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students to feel embraced and uplifted."
"To those students and families who are seeing an unprecedented effort to roll back LGBTQIA+ rights and opportunities in other states, we want you to know that New York State and SUNY's 64 colleges and universities intend only to move forward," Stanley added.
In 2015, the SUNY board of trustees set a goal to be the most inclusive state university system in the country and began to achieve that goal by requiring all state universities to install gender neutral bathrooms in 2021.