Trans Resources at Cornell
This resource guide was originally created by the student group Transitioning at Cornell (TAC) with the goal of aiding students who are looking to transition on campus. This guide pertains exclusively to the Cornell-specific aspects of transition. If you are looking for support or assistance with other aspects of transition, there are a plethora of resources on campus (that will be outlined in this document) that you can utilize. Throughout this document, the term ‘Preferred Named’ is used to describe a chosen name that is not your legal or deadname. Ideally, the term chosen name would be used in place of ‘preferred name,’ however, 'preferred name’ is the language used in many official places throughout campus and therefore it is used here too, in context, to lessen any confusion. Also of note, some offices use the term ‘Primary Name’ to refer to legal name.
The LGBT Resource Center thanks the students, staff, and faculty who have contributed to the development of these procedures and the 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.
Name, Pronouns, and Gender Marker
Can I change my name on my Cornell ID card before it’s legally changed?
I have legally changed my name; how do I get it changed in Cornell’s system?
Congratulations! Now that you have your name change documents, the process for changing your name in Cornell’s system is simple. Follow the steps provided on the “Names and Name Changes” page under Making Changes to Primary Name. https://registrar.cornell.edu/service-resources/names-and-name-changes
Essentially, you can do this via secure file transfer, by fax, mail, or in person at Day Hall. To update or change your primary name on your student record, please provide a copy of:
Can I change my name in Student Center?
You can change your “preferred name” via the Student Center, which is what the student center will display and the name that will populate to other systems that draw from PeopleSoft (database software utilized across most of campus). After you log in, at the bottom of the page under personal information select “Names”. Select the pencil icon to the right of the “Preferred” name type, then you will be able to update a prefix and first name. Make sure to select the date for the changes to take effect and press “Save.”
Canvas: When you update your name via the Student Center this will change how your name appears in Canvas as well.
Other applications: Updating your preferred name in the Student Center will update your name in a number of applications across campus, including Canvas for example, a full list of where these updates happen is currently being created.
Can I change my name in Workday?
Can I change my name in Campus Groups?
Can I change my display name on Google?
Can I change my net ID?
Where can I update my pronouns?
Currently there are only three platforms where you can update your pronouns: Canvas, Campus Groups, and the myCornellHealth Patient Portal. Due to rigid programming from the provider of the Canvas platform, students must select from a prepopulated listed of options. Cornell is petitioning for a write in option to be available.
In the myCornellHealth Patient Portal and Campus Groups you can select from a prepopulated list or write in an option that is not listed.
Can I update my gender marker?
Counseling and Psychological Services
What mental health services does provide to transgender students?
Cornell Health counselors can also help you secure an official gender dysphoria / gender identity disorder (GID) diagnosis, and provide letters required to initiate gender-affirming surgeries.
Mental health services are provided under the direction of Karen Williams, PhD, Mental Health Therapist.
Can I get individual counseling?
What group counseling is available?
CAPS offers group counseling related to gender identity each semester. The group counseling page is updated each semester with the offerings. There is typically a general LGBTQ+ group open to all LBTQ+ undergraduate and graduate students, a grad specific group, and a gender expansive group for trans, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, and questioning students.
Is there a drop in opportunity?
What services does Cornell Health provide to transgender students?
Cornell Health offers medical care, mental health services, and support to students who are transgender, those who are questioning their gender identity, and those considering gender transition (medically or surgically). Cornell Health’s services are guided and informed by best practices developed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). To read more, visit Cornell Health’s Gender Services page.
Cornell Health providers who specialize in gender services can provide:
counseling and support related to gender identity
medical care for the initiation and management of gender-affirming hormones
prescriptions for hormones and syringes that can be filled at Cornell Health's pharmacy or elsewhere
high-quality chest binders and tucking supplies available with no copay
recommendations for surgeons who specialize in gender-affirming surgical procedures
pre-operative testing and post-operative care (i.e., bandage changing/application and drain removal)
letters and documentation to support your transition
What are my rights as a patient of Cornell Health?
To be treated in a professional, courteous, and caring manner that respects and appreciates differences related to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexuality, religion, personal values, age, disability, and economic or veteran status.
To have access to a patient advocate who can assist you with questions and concerns related to your care experience. Visit the Patient Advocacy web page for more information.
How do I establish care at Cornell Health?
All care providers at Cornell Health are sensitive to the needs of transgender students, so you do not need to select a particular provider for your general medical care. If you are specifically seeking gender-affirming care, request your appointment with one of Cornell Health’s medical Gender Services specialists. At your appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your needs including physical care, emotional and social well-being, and any questions or concerns you may have.
- Medical services are provided under the direction of an Assistant Medical Director in collaboration with the Clinical Director of Sexual Health and a team of trained providers.
- Before accessing mental health services, you will meet with an Access Counselor who will assess your needs and refer you to the services that best match your concerns.
- Visit Cornell Health’s Mental Health Care page to learn more about the services offered by the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) team, including group and individual counseling options. You may also access free, informal consultation with a CAPS counselor through “Let’s Talk” drop-in hours, offered daily Monday-Friday. Mental health services are provided under the direction of CAPS providers, the Community Liaison for LGBTQ+ Students, and members of the Gender Services team.
How do I schedule appointments?
- Schedule an appointment by calling 607-255-5155 during business hours and ask to schedule a Gender Services appointment with a medical provider, or a Mental Health Access appointment with a CAPS provider.
- Select appointments, including CAPS Access appointments, can also be booked online at myCornellHealth. Visit health.cornell.edu/appointments to learn about what appointment types can be scheduled online.
Where do I pick up my prescription?
Where can I dispose of sharps?
You have two options for sharps (injection needle) disposal at Cornell.
You can collect your sharps and dispose of them through local programs.
You can purchase a sharps container from the Cornell Health Pharmacy and simply return the container to the front desk (Level 4) when it’s full. They will dispose of it for free.
What if I have concerns about privacy?
Your care at Cornell Health is confidential. Health records are maintained through a secure electronic health records (EHR) system, accessible only to Cornell Health’s workforce. The privacy of this information is protected by law.
For more details on how Cornell Health protects your confidentiality, including information on how to access your health record and how to share it with others if you choose to, visit our Confidentiality & Patient Rights page.
Will my bill contain information about my care that may be seen by others?
Cornell Health visit and pharmacy costs are automatically applied to your Bursar account, unless you request to pay online (through myCornellHealth), by phone (607-255-7492), or in person at the pharmacy cashier desk (pharmacy charges only). Charges will appear as “Cornell Health services” on your Bursar bill and will not include any information about the type of service you received, or any personal health information.
When charges are billed to your insurance, your insurance plan’s explanation of benefits (EOB) statement will contain some brief information about your visit, including a “diagnostic code” that is required by insurance companies to process reimbursements. For students who are on a parent’s or guardian’s insurance plan, the policyholder (parent/guardian) is the EOB recipient and may see that information.
Visit the Insurance Billing page for information on how to request a “pause for privacy” to allow time to re-route the EOB directly to you, the patient, and not to the primary policy holder (parent/guardian).
SHP / SHP+ members: You are the primary policyholder for your plan and the sole recipient of your EOBs.
Can I add my chosen name and gender identity in myCornellHealth?
Does Cornell Health offer a Binder program?
- Yes! Cornell Health provides students access to high-quality binders through their pharmacy with no copay.
- Cornell Health will provide up to 2 binders per semester.
- Cornell Health offers the gc2b half-tank binder in sizes XXS-XL (any color) and the Underworks tri-top binder in sizes XS-3XL (any color).
- Binders can be ordered in person at the Cornell Health Pharmacy or through your myCornellHealth patient portal by sending a secure message to the pharmacy.
- You will be notified by secure message when your binders are ready for pick up on Level 4 at the pharmacy.
Does Cornell Health offer a Tucking Supplies program?
Yes! Cornell Health provides students access to high-quality tucking supplies through their pharmacy with no copay. Browse available styles here.
Cornell Health will provide up to 2 pairs of tucking underwear per semester.
Tucking supplies can be ordered in person at the Cornell Health Pharmacy or through your myCornellHealth patient portal by sending a secure message to the pharmacy.
Note: Tucking supplies are not kept in stock, so your selections will be ordered and shipped to Cornell Health Pharmacy. Please allow 5-10 days for shipping. Once your tucking supplies arrive, you will receive a secure message that they are available to be picked up at the pharmacy.
What is SHP?
- SHP is Cornell’s Student Health Plan, managed through Cornell’s Office of Student Health Benefits. Each year all Cornell students must either confirm their ernollment in SHP, or waive SHP with a private insurance plan that meets Cornell’s requirements. SHP uses the Aetna provider network and Aetna processes all medical claims.
- SHP is an equitable and inclusive health insurance plan. If you are enrolled in SHP and transitioning, SHP supports Gender Affirming surgeries, hormonal therapies and some electrolysis procedures.
- For further information about insurance coverage, including the percentage of surgery costs to be paid by patients (called “co-insurance”), see SHP’s Certificate of Coverage.
- For further information about what surgical procedures are covered and what criteria need to be met, see Aetna’s Clinical Policy Bulletin 0615.
Who do I talk to about signing up for SHP?
- Enrollment in SHP occurs before the start of the academic year. Alternatively, if you lose health insurance coverage due to loss of coverage or aging off a parent/guardian’s insurance plan, you can enroll in the health plan. Visit the Student Health Benefits website for more information on enrollment processes. Please contact Aetna’s customer service at 800-859-8475 for specific information about the clinical policy or benefit questions. You can also search Aetna’s provider directory for service providers.
Who can I talk to about housing?
What are my housing options?
You have a variety of housing options at Cornell. You can choose the general application (the same one all incoming first year students go through) or housing lottery (the same one all rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors go through), you can apply for a program house or co-op, or you can contact the Housing Office and request special placement.
Gender Inclusive Housing Policy: According to the housing website, “gender-inclusive housing is a policy that affords all Cornell students the option to live on campus with whomever they choose, regardless of biological sex, gender, or gender identity.” When a student selects gender-inclusive housing, they will be contacted by the Housing Office to determine what housing accommodations will offer them the best living experience. You can learn more by following this link, https://scl.cornell.edu/residential-life/housing/housing-details/gender-inclusive-housing
Loving House: This is the LGBTQ+ Living-Learning Unit. The purpose of Loving House is to create an environment that protects and supports Cornell University's community of LGBTQIA+ students. https://scl.cornell.edu/residential-life/housing/campus-housing/upperlevel-undergraduates/program-houses/loving-house
How does the housing application work?
As an incoming first year student, you will fill out a housing application indicating your room preference (single, double, triple, quad) and housing option (general housing, program house, suite). You will then enter a lottery and be assigned a room. Things to consider about the general housing application are as follows: If you applied for a single, housing will do their best to make this happen but there is no guarantee you will get one. If you are being placed in a single, your single could be part of a suite (which are single gender). Even if you end up in a single that isn’t in a suite, hallways and sometimes even floors, can be gender divided. If your gender marker is legally female, you also could be placed in McClintock, which is an exclusively female dorm.
How does the housing lottery work?
What are mixed gender suites/block?
What about gender inclusive housing?
How do co-ops work?
How does special placement work?
What is the best place to go for first year residence halls?
Does Cornell offer amnesty housing?
What is the bathroom policy?
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 all-gender bathrooms across campus. It is important to note that this bathroom map shows bathrooms that are private and/or behind locked doors and therefore may not always be accessible.
What about residence hall bathrooms and showering?
Are there period products in all bathrooms?
How can I make sure my professors refer to me using the correct name and gender?
There is no one right way to do this, one suggestion is to set a preferred name with the student center (as discussed above) and correct your pronouns with them on the first day (until you can have your gender marker changed). Or, 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. Most professors are extremely understanding and accommodating.
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 will be interacting much more closely with your TAs, so it will be important to inform them as well.
What do I say to a professor?
Dear [professor’s name],
I am enrolled in your class this semester, and I am a [identity here] individual. I use the name ________ and ____ pronouns. Would it be possible for you to share this information with any TAs I will be working with as well?
Thank you for your help and looking forward to your class!