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“I was told that I was the first trans student at HEC”

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The first time I asked my teachers to change my first name was in prep class. I was in the B/L stream (literature and social sciences) at Lakanal high school, in Sceaux (Hauts-de-Seine). With the teaching team, everything went well: I asked to change my first name and it was done without any problem.

Before, in high school, I only talked about my trans identity to my friends. I had once put on women’s clothes, in senior year, and I had been summoned by the principal. He explained to me that it bothered my comrades and that he never wanted to see it again.

I joined HEC at the start of the last academic year. A few weeks after arriving at school, I wanted to take matters into my own hands and try to change my first name on my student card and on the roll call. All the pronouns suit me, except the masculine. In French, people most often say ” she “ to talk about me. In English, we use the neuter instead. “they” and “them”. The other students understand quite well what it is all about. As for the teachers, I don’t know if they totally get it. It is true that I did not launch into a long explanation of what non-binarity is.

That’s the most painful thing: a lot of teachers at HEC take roll call at the start of class and you have to explain in front of the whole auditorium that I’m using a first name other than the one indicated. When I looked around me for information on how to change my first name, no one really knew what to do. I wrote to the student life department. I waited a month and didn’t really get a response from them. I figured they were probably very busy. Then my statistics teacher referred me to the Equal Opportunities unit. I emailed them and a few days later received a favorable response. “This is the first time that we have been asked this, but no problem, we understand your request and we will do everything to change your first name”.

Steps that took a few weeks

In 2021, it was therefore the first time that HEC had a trans person among the students…! Finally, the administrative procedures took a few weeks and at the end of the first semester, in winter, I was able to pass my exams and modify my student e-mail address, my first name on the call lists and my student card.

Then, I spent the second part of the university year on an exchange on another campus, in Denmark, in Copenhagen. I was able to measure the gap with France: my request to change my first name was made instantly, it took two days. They are used to this kind of administrative process. I have seen how far they are ahead of us in the area of ​​gender identities: for example, the school has a procession at the Copenhagen Pride Parade and cultural events with drag queens are regularly organized on campus. Moreover, within the establishment, there are no more gendered toilets: I wonder if we could do the same at home.

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