Unlike other Claremont Consortium members, doesn’t list a financial cutoff
Pomona College already recognizes its transgender and nonbinary students by their preferred identities, but it’s a different matter legally in California, where the private institution is located.
That’s why the administration is offering to cover “typical application and document fees” for students who want to change their name or “gender marker” on legal documents in the state, according to an email to students this morning.
The Claremont Independent notes that a “court ordered” name and/or gender change costs $435 in California, even after enactment of a 2014 law to “improve the safety and privacy needs of transgender people seeking to obtain accurate and consistent identity documents.” The state issues income-based fee waivers to some applicants, though.
It’s less complicated and expensive for students who don’t want to involve California courts.
Students who just want to “obtain an accurate birth certificate” – that is, one that ignores their birth sex – only have to pay $23 and submit a doctor’s letter to the Department of Public Health, according to the Transgender Law Center. It no longer requires a court-ordered change under the 2014 law, nor an appearance at a court hearing.
For students who weren’t born in California, the state law may not help them update the gender marker on their birth certificate, even if they take the California court route. The court-ordered option is most useful to native Californians who want “extra legal security” if they move to other states, according to the center.
Pomona Dean of Students Avis Hinkson told students the decision was months in the making as his office worked with the Queer Resource Center to resolve “legal questions” for trans and nonbinary students.
The email doesn’t promise to cover their full legal fees, but does not provide a financial cutoff or limitation on which fees Pomona will cover, either. Hinkson simply says students can apply for “assistance with paying” fees, and does not specify “legal documentation.”
The campus portal through which students can apply is only available to Pomona students, making it impossible for outsiders to see the fine print.
According to the Independent, legal name changes in various states range from $200 to $400. Except for Claremont McKenna College, Pomona is behind the other members of the Claremont Consortium in providing funding and specifying what it will cover:
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