When your ONEcard doesn’t match your identity

Guest post by Devan Kronisch

Imagine you are standing in front of the OneCard office and are feeling anxious about something as easy as getting that little card. Why would you?

Well, that was my experience when I stammered out the question if I maybe could have another name than my legal one as my first name on the card.

The answer was a “sorry, can’t do.” There went all my hopes of maybe finally having one piece of picture ID that shows me as who I really am. You see, I’m one of those trans people you’ve heard about and I also happen to be from a country that is a little less supportive of who I am than Canada, so I cannot change my legal name.

Before this sounds too much like a sad story, I should add that this was my experience last year. A lot has changed since then. The Equity and Human Rights office on campus has been at work to make my life a lot easier.

I’ve been involved in some of the processes, one of which is a brand new website section of trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary resources on campus.

After having repeatedly met with Kamilla Milligan to both give input on what would be important for people like me to know about campus and having commented on the drafts I was asked to test-read the final pages. I all but spit my tea out in excitement when I saw that the OneCard office now lets you have any name you want as long as it is also officially registered as your preferred name with the (in my case) graduate office.

That’s one of the reasons I find that page so incredibly important, even as somebody who is involved on campus with trans rights; that change in policy went right past me. Having one central spot for everything makes it so much easier to actually know what’s going on and what UVic does already offer to make us trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary students feel welcome on campus.

And that feeling of being welcome is so important when choosing a university. I really think the pages are going to make a difference for future students’ sense of really belonging here. When I picked my university I did check which have a Pride Centre but those tend to be student run, of course. Having an official website from UVic directly is far more of a statement that the commitment to diversity is more than lip service.

EQHR’s website features helpful resources, like the No Big Deal campaign

Of course, there’s always more to be done. Part of that is education, part of that is exposure—well, or in some cases—less exposure. Sorry to that poor guy who probably thought he walked into the wrong showers, turned around and fled as fast as he could, one time I wanted to use McKinnon Pool.

The new website content won’t help much with that kind of problem but as you can see in that nifty article about the page over at the Ring, we’re having an inclusive washroom initiative going, with yours truly on the committee. Which is just awesome.

Much as I was skipping around campus like a happy fairy once I got my new OneCard, being able to change clothes and pee in peace has a slightly more everyday noticeable effect on us trans, Two-Spirit, and non-binary students on campus.  

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