University will allow preferred names and pronouns on LORA

Illustration+by+Andrew+Lang.+Photo+credit%3A+Andrew+Lang

Illustration by Andrew Lang. Photo credit: Andrew Lang

Rose Wagner

Loyola will enforce a new policy this summer that hopes to prevent professors from misgendering and misnaming students.

Students’ preferred names and pronouns from LORA will now automatically show up on Blackboard starting this summer. While students have been able to list their pronouns and preferred names on LORA since the start of this school year, these names never showed up on Blackboard or class rosters due to coding issues between the two programs, leaving it up to transgender and non-binary students to inform professors and classmates of their identities themselves.

“If you don’t tell them, they won’t know. But it is not always the easiest to want to tell them,” Leo Thomas, criminology sophomore and president of PLUS+ said about having to tell instructors that he is transgender.

While he said Loyola is generally welcoming to transgender and nonbinary students and has worked to change policies, Thomas had one professor who repeatedly called him by his dead name, his birth name that he no longer goes by, despite corrections.

“Eventually he was like ‘Where’d you get that one from?’ and I was like ‘Well, I gave it to myself,” Thomas said.

While Thomas said he uses humor as a coping mechanism and tries not to let instances of being misgendered or deadnamed get to him, it can still be an emotional experience.

“At first, it doesn’t always hit you initially, but sometimes it feels like a punch in the gut,” Thomas said. “I know that I don’t pass very well. It’s just kind of a constant reminder every time I get misgendered that I don’t pass. It’s different for everyone. For me, personally, it’s kind of one of those things where when it starts kind of hitting, I am just looking at myself and every feminine attribute of myself feels like it’s way more than it is.”

Thomas said he is excited about Loyola’s new policy and hopes it will make it easier for transgender and non-binary students to have their identities acknowledged and accepted. Diana Ward, chief student conduct officer and Title IX coordinator, said Loyola’s decision to create a pathway for students to have their preferred names and pronouns show up on Blackboard was a necessary one for a university that aims to live out Jesuit values.

“We can’t show care for the whole person if we ask people to leave part of their identity at home. We want to make sure Loyola University New Orleans is a place where all of our students can feel welcome, included, and safe. Being misgendered or deadnamed can be extremely painful, and we want to do whatever we can to support not just our LGBTQ students but all of our students to be successful at Loyola,” Ward said.