SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — California Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco proposed a bill on Thursday that would allow transgender and nonbinary public college students to use their preferred names instead of their birth names on diplomas.

According to Chiu, if passed, Assembly Bill 245 will ensure diplomas don’t mistakenly use a graduate’s birth name, if they prefer to use a chosen name.

Chu said the bill is especially important since transgender and nonbinary people face higher rates of discrimination in the workplace. Not having their preferred name on their diploma can create even more challenges, especially if the individual chooses not to openly identify as transgender or nonbinary at work or school.

“Making sure college records reflect a student’s name is a no-brainer,” Chiu said in a statement. “Transgender and nonbinary students face many challenges, and this simple policy will ensure they have one less barrier to overcome.”

The bill aims to standardize the process for updating records after a student graduates, as the system varies across all of the state’s public colleges. It builds off of AB 711, authored by Chiu and signed into law in 2019, requiring that K-12 school districts update the diplomas and transcripts of former students to reflect their updated names and gender markers.

LGBTQ civil rights organization Equality California is backing AB 245.

“Deadnaming — or referring to someone by the name they were assigned at birth instead of the name they currently use — is a traumatic and unnecessary experience faced by far too many transgender and nonbinary Californians,” Equality California executive director Rick Chavez Zbur said. “This small but important act will help ensure all of our students are treated with the dignity they deserve.”

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