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Gender affirmation at Sydney

Your rights and protections

Find out about your basic rights and protections at the University.

Your names and pronouns

The University acknowledges your right to be addressed by the name and pronouns that correspond to your gender. You can let us know your preferred or chosen name and pronouns in Sydney Student as well as add your pronouns to Canvas. We are encouraging our staff to check your details if they have access to Sydney Student or Canvas, so they can use your correct name and pronouns in internal communications. We're also encouraging staff and your peers to ask you if they are unsure what name or pronouns you use.

Sometimes people can make mistakes and accidentally use the wrong name or pronoun. While mistakes are understandable, the person should be making every effort to practice using your correct information to ensure they get it right next time. It is not your responsibility to accept being misgendered while people get used to using a new name or pronouns. Deliberate misgendering or deliberately using the wrong pronouns goes against our Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy and is unacceptable.

Legal name

Before we can make any changes to your legal name at the University, you'll need have it changed with an appropriate government agency. In NSW, you can change your legal name by visiting the Births, Deaths and Marriages website. Check their website to see if you're eligible.

If you're an international student concerned that changing your name might disclose your sexuality or gender identity in your home country, we recommend you contact Student Wellbeing who can help put you in touch with the right advisor.

Your privacy

You have the right to discuss your gender identity or expression openly, or to keep that information private. It's important that you get to decide when, with whom, and how much to share your private information. However, if you can safely engage with your student peers it may help create a smooth affirmation process.

The University will manage your personal information in accordance with privacy legislation and our policies. University staff should not disclose information that may reveal your transgender status or gender non-conforming presentation to others without your consent or unless disclosure is required by legislation and policies. Even then, this information should only be shared with lecturers if they truly need to know about it. It is important to note that as gender is included on some internal and official documents, such as academic records, these documents may be accessed and viewed by professional staff performing their duties. Read more about your privacy at the University.

For confidential advice and support, check our support and services page.

Protection from bullying, discrimination and harassment

The Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy affirms the University’s commitment to provide a safe and healthy workplace and learning environment that is free from bullying and unlawful harassment and discrimination. It applies to all staff, students and affiliates of the University, including individuals who are trans, gender diverse, and non-binary.

Under the policy, you are entitled to make a complaint about any bullying, harassing or discriminatory behaviour you are subjected to, or that you witness.

The actions we may take include:

  • investigating the incident
  • taking reasonable corrective action
  • requiring the parties to participate in counselling, mediation or concillation
  • requiring the respondent to undertake training
  • drawing up a management plan
  • for staff - disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal
  • for students - dealing with the matter as misconduct under the University of Sydney (Student Discipline) Rule, up to and including expulsion.

If you experience or witness bullying, discrimination or harassment, you can make a complaint.

Last updated: 13 April 2023

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