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One of the reasons I chose Carleton is because it was listed in the top 25 LGBTQ+ friendly colleges and universities. Before college, I was unable to be out, and finding a college where I can be myself was a top priority. To this day, I am so happy I made this decision— life at Carleton is more queer-friendly than I could have ever imagined in high school.

In this post, I’ll mostly speak to what it’s like to be trans or gender-queer at Carleton, something I realized about myself after I came to Northfield. Throughout my time at Carleton, I’ve changed my pronouns and name a few times, and this has never caused an issue.


At Carleton, introducing yourself with pronouns is the norm. At the beginning of most classes, we start off with introductions: this usually means sharing your name, pronouns, class year, where you’re from, and a fun fact. Even though introductions can be stressful if you’re an introvert like me, they mean that, especially as a first-year student, you can introduce yourself however you’d like!

I’ve referred to myself differently in almost every term here— from “she/they” to “she/any” to “they/any” to “they/them…” I’ve changed my introduction quite a bit. It was really nice to know that people respected me no matter how I introduced myself and if this changed. I’ve never, ever had someone misgender me on purpose. It’s also nice that I’m usually not the only “they/them” in a class!




My freshman year is also when I began introducing myself as “Ren,” though I still went back and forth between this and my “old” name. It became a gamble as to who knew me as what, and at the end of my sophomore year, I decided to change my name officially in Carleton’s system.

Doing this meant that I was listed as “Ren” on professors’ class rosters, on our online class platform (Moodle), and on my email. Even though my name is not changed legally (so it is not listed as Ren on things like financial aid documents), as far as people at Carleton know, my name is Ren. I have never once had someone call me otherwise out of malicious intent.

One story that I think exemplifies how understanding people are about these things at Carleton is that almost immediately after I told my work (in the Admissions Office!) I had changed my name and pronouns, I walked in to see new nametags printed— I didn’t even have to ask. They immediately started calling me Ren and using different pronouns to introduce me, and I could not have been more thankful.


More about the name change process at Carleton:

The process allows you to:

1. Use your correct name and pronouns at school even if you applied under a different name/different pronouns, and

2. Be able to be out at Carleton without necessarily being out outside of the college.



And it’s simple! Here’s a more in-depth look at what you can change from the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC). You can also type “name change” into Carleton’s search bar for lots of results. Without you having to do anything, Carleton will ensure that your name is changed on:

  • The name on your OneCard (AKA Carleton’s key card and ID system)
  • The name listed on your mailbox in Sayles Hill
  • Your name on class rosters, Moodle, and Google
  • Your name and pronouns on the Campus Directory


Carleton also instructs students regarding a legal name change in the state of Minnesota.

If this process still seems daunting, or you’re just not sure about filling it out, don’t hesitate to reach out! There is the GSC, plenty of queer upper-classmen, and staff more than happy to help! Myself included— feel free to reach out with any questions at



Ren (they/them) grew up catching salamanders, recklessly climbing trees, and running around barefoot in the Appalachian Mountains in a small town in North Carolina. They are a junior double major in art history and studio art, and love spending time in the arb, Sayles Hill Campus Center, and the Weitz Center for Creativity. Ren is the co-president of Carleton’s QuestBridge chapter and works with other equity programs on campus.