Trans Protections and Title IX


Grand Valley State University is committed to providing equitable protections to transgender students, faculty, and staff. Gender identity and gender expression are protected under university policies including the GVSU Board of Trustees policies and Sex and Gender Based Harassment policy. Harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression will continue to be protected and investigated by the university's Title IX office. 

GVSU Affirmation of Gender Identity and Expression Inclusion

National Center for Transgender Equality: FAQ on the Withdrawal of Federal Guidance on Transgender Students

Preferred or Use Name

For more information on ways that you can change your name at GVSU please visit our Preferred or Use Name page.

Getting a Legal Name Change in Michigan

For a printable PDF of the below Michigan legal name change tip sheet, click here.

The following steps were developed to assist those seeking a legal name change in Michigan, but is not intended to serve as a substitute for legal advice or official government guides. Please verify procedures and requirements with your local county clerk's office. If you have suggested updates or revisions please email us at lgbtcenter@gvsu.edu.

Conditions

  1. Must be a resident of a county in Michigan for at least 1 year.

    • This will be the county listed on your current ID or license.

    • You must file in this county, even if you do not currently reside there.

  2. The petition must not be made with fraudulent intent.

    • The reason for the name change must be explained on the form.

Estimated Cost Breakdown (all fees may vary slightly by county):

  • ~$175 Initial filing fee

  • ~$25-50 Individual county processing fees (not always applicable)

  • ~$60 Newspaper publishing fee

  • ~$30 Fee for filing the order and two certified copies of the petition following the hearing

    • Pro-Tips:

      • Get at least two certified copies. Some agencies require an original copy of the order to keep or borrow for up to 6 weeks. If you have two copies, you always have one for safe keeping.

      • You can always get more certified copies in the future at the county clerk’s office for a fee.

  • ~$10 New State ID or Driver’s License

General Timeline for Legal Name Change in Michigan

Estimated Timeline

  • ~ 1 week: Obtaining and mailing the PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 51 form, standard USPS mail.

  • ~ 3-5 weeks: Obtaining a criminal background check.

    • Only for those age 22 years and older.

  • ~ 2-8 weeks: Receive hearing information from the clerk, hearing scheduled.

  • ~ 1-3 days: Publishing the notice of hearing in the newspaper (do this asap after you receive your hearing date)

  • ~ 3-4 weeks: Receive new ID in the mail after visiting the Secretary of State.

Total time from filing date to hearing date varies. Average will be 4-8 weeks.

*The Notice of Hearing must be published no less than 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. See Step 6 for more details.

Step 1

Download and print the form: PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 51.

  1. Check your county clerk’s website or go to www.michiganlegalhelp.org to download and print the form.

    • Michigan Legal Help offers a walkthrough that fills out the form for you based on your answers to questions.

  2. Make sure you fill out all portions.

    • If you also have a Michigan Birth Certificate, you can complete that change at the same time via line 9 on the PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 51 form. If you do not have a Michigan Birth Certificate, you will have to contact the issuing state after your order is approved by a judge to change the name on your Birth Certificate.

  3. Be sure to put your permanent address (as listed on your current ID) on the form. You can provide the clerk with a temporary mailing address if needed (you will provide them with a self addressed envelope in Step 2), but the form can’t be processed unless the current permanent address is listed.

Step 2

  1. Find your county clerk’s office or mailing address.
    • Each county can have a different filing and processing fee, but it is usually around $175.

      • If you cannot afford this fee, you may qualify for a fee waiver.

        • Doing this will add more time to the process because you will need to wait for a decision on the fee waiver before you can file your PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 51.

        • These are the steps to apply for a fee waiver

  2. If you need to mail a payment, call the office and verify the cost and information. Many offices will not accept personal checks but will accept a money order.

    • You can get a money order from your bank, credit union, and Western Union (available in many stores such as Meijer, Family Fare, and Walgreens). Search online or call to find the one closest and most convenient for you. Issuers often charge a small fee to prepare the money order.

  3. Pro-Tips:

    • When mailing your petition, pay for delivery confirmation. This will give you a tracking number for your mailed documents, so you will know when they have been delivered. You can do this at the post office when you mail the document or purchase one online and print the label to tape on your letter.

      • This costs about 5 dollars, but it was worth it when my letter got misdirected.

    • Some websites are unclear on this point, but do not send the petition to the court itself.

      • Generally, you will send the petition to the County Clerk’s office.

    • Make 1-2 copies of the petition and submit the original with your petition.

Step 3

Mail (as described above) or drop off your petition, the proper amount of payment, a copy of your Birth Certificate (in-state or out-of-state accepted) and current ID (these do not need to be certified copies), and a self-addressed envelope with a stamp.

  • They will use the envelope you provide to send you information. Be sure the address you use is current and valid. You MUST send them this envelope.

Step 4

  1. Criminal Background Check (if you are less than 22 years old, skip this step)

    • All persons 22 years and older require a criminal background check before a hearing can be scheduled.

    • You will need to be fingerprinted at a local police agency (cost varies).

      • Search online or ask the clerk to find your closest fingerprinting agency.

    • Mail your fingerprints, a copy of the petition you sent to the clerk, and a form of payment to the state police.

    • The state police will report its findings to the county in which you filed the petition.

      • This usually takes 3-5 weeks.

      • If you have no pending charges or criminal record, the state police will destroy your fingerprints after they report to the court.

 

Step 5

Schedule the Hearing

  • The county clerk will use the self-addressed stamped envelope you provided to send you information (after you pass the criminal record check, if applicable) regarding your hearing.

    • Some courts schedule the hearing date for you while others require you to call and schedule yourself. If you are unsure of your date, ask the clerk’s office or search your county’s court docket.

  • Pro-Tip:

    • If you are under 22 years old and do not receive your hearing information within 2 weeks, call the county clerk. Make sure they understand that they do not have to wait for background check results because your age waives that requirement.

Step 6

  1. Publishing the Notice of Hearing

    • All name change hearings must be published in a local newspaper no more than 8 weeks and no less than 15 days prior to the hearing.

      • “Local” refers to the county in which you filed the petition.

        • The clerk should be able to provide a list of acceptable papers.

      • Pro-Tip:

        • This was confusing. The notice only needs to be published for one day, as long as it is at least 15 days before the hearing.

        • Usually, the newspaper will fill out a proof of publication form and send it to you or the court, but it is your responsibility to make sure the court receives proof of publication BEFORE the day of your hearing.

    • Each local newspaper will have a different publishing fee.

    • If there is a reason you do not feel safe publishing the notice, you can ask the court to keep the proceedings confidential; however, the judge will only do this if publishing will put you in physical danger.  This request must be made early on in the process for review. Many courts will cancel your hearing date if your proof of publication is not received by the due date.

 

Step 7

  1. Attend the Hearing

    • Arrive on the day of your hearing with the following:

      1. A copy of the petition you submitted

      2. A current ID and a form of payment to obtain certified copies (check with the court for accepted forms of payments, some may accept credit card, check, or money order)

      3. Birth Certificate and proof of current residence. Proof of residence is not always required but may be requested. This can include drivers license or other ID and may include items from column 4 of this Secretary of State resource under “Proof of Michigan Residency” https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Applying_for_lic_or_ID_SOS_428_222146_7.pdf

      4. Print and bring with you the ORDER FOLLOWING HEARING ON PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 52

        • This document is included in the toolkit found at www.michiganlegalhelp.org

        • You NEED to bring this document to the hearing because this is what the judge signs.

    • The judge will ask you questions such as:

      1. Do you have a criminal record?

      2. Are you making this request with fraudulent intent?

      3. Why do you want to change your name?

      4. Do you have any debt?

        1. If you have student loans, you must update the creditor as soon as you obtain a new Social Security Card.

    • Pro-Tips

      • This is the scariest part. Be polite and sure when answering questions.

      • Listen carefully for any instructions the judge or bailiff gives you. If you need to, bring a pen and paper to write down important details.

      • If you need an accommodation to attend your hearing, contact the court clerk before the day of your hearing.  

Step 8

File the Order

  1. The court will do this after the judge approves your name change.

    • Listen to the directions given by the judge, the location of this step varies.

    • This can usually be done the same day of your hearing.

  2. The court will certify the ORDER FOLLOWING HEARING ON PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 52 and will charge for each certified copy and a filing fee.

Step 9

  1. Changing your State ID or Driver’s License

    • You must obtain a new Social Security Card before you can change your State ID. This is free. You will need to go to the Social Security (SS) Office. Check https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp to find the one nearest to you.

      • The SS office will require:

        1. A certified copy of the ORDER FOLLOWING HEARING ON PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 52.

        2. Your current Social Security Card.

        3. Your current State ID or Driver’s License.

        4. Your Birth Certificate (not required but very helpful).

      • Pro-Tip:

        • Once you file for a new Social Security Card, you can proceed to get your new State ID or Driver’s License after 24-48 hours. You do not have to wait for the new card to come in the mail. Ask the employee at the SS office for a more exact waiting time.

        • If they don’t give it to you, ask for a signed receipt that shows you have applied for a new Social Security Card.

    • To update your State ID or Driver’s License at the Secretary of State, you will need:

      1. Your current State ID or Driver’s License

      2. A certified copy of the ORDER FOLLOWING HEARING ON PETITION TO CHANGE NAME PC 52

      3. A form of payment

      4. Birth Certificate or U.S. Passport

        • This is a recent update used to verify U.S. Citizenship used for some applications. You may or may not be asked for these documents.

      5. It is also helpful to bring the processing receipt you will get from the Social Security Office.

Step 10

  1. Update your Name

    • Visit www.dmv.org/articles/checklist-where-to-change-your-name/ to view a list of places that may have your name.

      • This article is targeted for those who have recently married, but the list of agencies will not vary much.

    • Special considerations for students:

      1. University Registrar

      2. Student Employee Records

      3. Student Loan Agency

      4. High School or Transfer Transcripts

      5. Student ID, Online materials, Email*

        1. This can be done at GVSU at any point without a legal name change. Visit www.gvsu.edu/lgbtrc/preferred-or-use-name-208.htm for detailed steps.

      6. FAFSA/Renewable Scholarships

        • Fill out the next FAFSA with the name attached to your Social Security Number, if you have completed Step 9(a) this will be your new legal name.

        • Submit your FAFSA early, you will need time to provide them with extra documentation of the name change if asked.

        • Contact any scholarship agency that may be sending checks on your behalf to the University.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Selective Service

Male to Female (MTF) 
Regardless of current legal sex status, all people designated male at birth must register with the selective service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. You can register for the selective service through the secretary of state website or there is a selective service registration option on the FAFSA form. If you do not register for the selective service within 30 days of your 18th birthday, you are not eligible for federal student financial aid. Due to the current transgender-exclusionary policies, they can still fill out a request for status information letter. This request form includes a specific section marked "transsexual" and requires a copy of your birth certificate indicating birth-assigned sex as well as additional documentation indicating transition (medical or legal documentation). 

Female to Male (FTM) 
For students who are assigned female at birth who change their legal sex to male before their 26th birthday, they are able to register for Selective Service after their 18th birthday or they will be asked to prove that they are exempt with a status information letter. A status letter can be obtained by filling out a request form through the selective service website. Students 26 years old or older who are legally male who have not registered with the selective service can still fill out a request for status information letter. This request form includes a specific section marked "transsexual" and requires a copy of your birth certificate indicating birth-assigned sex as well as additional documentation indicating transition (medical or legal documentation). 

For additional information about transgender people and the selective service, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality's resource: Selective Service and Transgender People.

Athletics

GVSU Athletic Department's Policy on Transgender Student-Athletes
"A transgender student athlete will be allowed to participate in any varsity sports activity so long as that athlete’s use of hormone therapy, if any, is consistent with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) existing policies on banned substances. Specifically, a transgender student-athlete will be allowed to participate in varsity sports activities..."
Transgender Student-Athlete Policy

GVSU Fieldhouse
An ADA accessible, gender-inclusive locker room can be found in the Fieldhouse on the lower level near the ramp to Lot E.

NCAA Policy
As part of the NCAA, GVSU abides by their policies including the NCAA Inclusion of Transgender Student-Athletes

"The purpose of this resource is to provide guidance to NCAA athletic programs about how to ensure transgender student-athletes fair, respectful, and legal access to collegiate sports teams based on current medical and legal knowledge."