NYU offers free new ID cards to reflect chosen names, updated photos

The university’s Card Center will now help students, faculty and staff better reflect their gender identities with updated ID cards.


Manasa Gudavalli

NYU students, faculty and staff can now have their university ID cards reprinted to reflect chosen names and gender-affirming photos. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

Alex Tey and Vinith Yedidi

To better support the gender expression of students, faculty and staff, NYU community members can now have their university identification cards reprinted for free with a chosen name and gender-affirming photograph.

To reprint an ID card, students are asked to update names or photos on NYU Albert. Faculty and employees should use the PeopleSync platform to change their information. Twenty-four hours later, the change will be reflected in the Card Center’s system, after which updated cards can be requested from the Center’s Manhattan or Brooklyn locations.

During pickup, old cards must be returned to prevent duplicates. Although there is no charge for the issuance of an updated ID card when an old card is returned, replacing a lost card will still incur a $25 fee.

Chris Woods, director of the LGBTQ+ Center, said the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation, under which the center operates, worked with the Card Center over the summer to make the change in response to feedback from the community. 

“This change will not only better affirm how our community members want to be represented on their IDs, but it will also allow for those who interface with NYU ID cards to do so in ways that better reflect our community members,” Woods wrote to WSN.

Previously, the Card Center was unable to make gender-affirming changes to identification cards, which students, faculty and employees are required to show to Campus Safety officers in order to access buildings on campus.

Tisch senior Cassidy Byron said that the policy change would give transgender students the opportunity to be more comfortable and confident when navigating campus.

“Having an ID with your real name on it, even if it’s not legally your name yet — it feels good,” Byron said. “It feels more correct to carry that around and be able to say, ‘This is my name, I can prove it to you with my ID.’”

They added that the ability to update ID cards with a chosen name would reduce the risk of deadnaming, the hurtful act of referring to a trans person by their birth name.

Steinhardt sophomore Lauren Soumilas is the president of T-Party, the trans student club at the LGBTQ+ Center. She agreed that misrepresentation of someone’s gender identity, even if it is unintentional, can cause serious emotional harm.

“Being identified correctly isn’t something that trans people or queer people or any people should have to fight for,” Soumilas said.

Because college is the first time that many trans students are away from restrictive home environments, Soumilas said, the free ability to update information like identification cards is especially important. Soumilas was not out to her parents when they took her initial ID photo, so she is planning on making use of the policy change to update her ID.

“It’s supposed to be a representation of who I am, so having the most accurate representation possible is really important to me,” Soumilas said. “It should be really important to everyone that your identification should identify you.”

Allowing trans students to update ID photos is particularly important, according to Iman Yusuf, the senator at-large representing Black trans and gender-expansive students in NYU student government.

“This is such an important addition, in ways that most people don’t understand,” Yusuf wrote in a statement to WSN. “Photographs are an easy portal to gender dysphoria, which is a feeling of great distress that arises from being misgendered, or being portrayed in ways (as trans and gender-expansive folk) that are divergent to who we are.”

Yusuf described the policy change as a long-awaited form of gender-affirming care for his constituents and other members of the NYU community. He credited student advocacy as well as Woods and the LGBTQ+ Center for this and other initiatives.

“These changes do not come freely, but only when we push hard and don’t cease advocating for our needs as students,” Yusuf wrote.

Another recent change that the center had advocated for was the addition of pronoun fields to personal profiles on Albert, Zoom and other student interfaces.

“This change is one of a number of actions the University has been and is taking so that students who wish to express their gender identity [or] expression can do so freely here at NYU,” Woods wrote.

Woods encouraged students who have concerns, questions or feedback to contact the LGBTQ+ Center.

Update Oct. 22, 2021, 2:07 p.m.: This article has been updated to include a statement from student government representative Iman Yusuf.

Contact Alex Tey at [email protected] and Vinith Yedidi at [email protected].