Dead wrong

Pride equality flag at Curtin Student Guild. Photo: Daniel Spence.

Deadnaming is the term for someone using the pre-transition name of a transgender or non-binary person, whether accidentally or deliberately.

The National Union of Students queer department has launched a petition calling for universities to take action against what they see as an increasing problem of deadnaming in Aussie classrooms.  

Curtin Student Guild queer officer Cassidy Pemberton says the guild is circulating the petition around Perth campuses to push for more action.

“In regards to administration systems even if you change your legal name and update it with Curtin Connect, know it gives you the option to put in your preferred name but this doesn’t come up on the role so quite often students are getting deadnamed,” they say.  

The petition appears on the Facebook page of the Curtin Queer Department. Photo: Curtin Queer Department.

National Union of Students queer/LGBTQ+ officer Jordy Duffey says they speak with student queer committees in universities all across the country and are being told deadnaming is prevalent on all campuses. 

“We ran a survey earlier in the year and what we found was that deadnaming was still prevalent. Many advocates that I have spoken to say that the response from administration was that the issue was too difficult to address or too technical and we feel that the universities should be held accountable,” they say.  

The NUS survey found: 

  • 83 per cent of students said there was a persistent deadnaming issue at their university  
  • 93 per cent said they were deadnamed on student facing platforms 
  • 20 per cent said they were deadnamed by staff  
  • 43 per cent said they were deadnamed on university accounts  
  • 13 per cent said they were deadnamed on their student ID 

Jordy Duffey says deadnaming can negatively affect a trans person’s mental health and can worsen pre-existing conditions such as depression and anxiety. They say deadnaming can also “out” a trans person and make them more susceptible to bullying and potential assault.  

The petition calls for pressure to be put on external platform developers to add functions that allow students to enter and display their chosen names. It also calls for student platforms to have the ability for students to put in their preferred names, and for staff members to have access to these preferred names when interacting with students. 

Listen to the interview with Cassidy Pemberton
Listen to the interview with Jordy Duffey.

Categories: Culture, General

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