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First name change and change of gender entry for trans*, inter* and non-binary students and employees at the University of Potsdam

As organizations under public law, universities are responsible for creating conditions that enable their members to work and study as free of discrimination as possible. The University of Potsdam is committed to real gender diversity and takes the concerns of trans*, inter* and non-binary (=TIN) people seriously. They often face special challenges in their daily lives and work contexts because people in their environment do not always react appropriately, sometimes in a discriminatory manner, or administrative procedures are not (yet) adapted to the lived gender diversity.

The University of Potsdam strives to accommodate the needs of TIN persons and to ensure respectful interaction. It strives to carry out a quick and barrier-free change of the first name and gender entry of trans*, inter* and non-binary students and employees. In a presidential resolution of the University of Potsdam, a differentiated procedure for the change of first name is made according to the assessment of the legal situation for this purpose: A distinction is to be made between the use of the chosen (not yet) officially changed first name and gender in internal university matters within theframework of self-administration and the use in official matters with external effects as well asfor the fulfillment of state tasks.

The University of Potsdam allows the use of the chosen (not yet) officially changed first name as well as gender in internal university matters. This also applies if legal proceedings for a change of first name and, if applicable, personal status have not yet been completed or are not being or cannot be pursued. The prerequisite is credible proof, e.g. by means of the dgti supplementary identity card.

If an official change and thus a complete name change is requested but not yet pending or already completed, then there is no distinction between internal and external matters. The first name change is then possible in full.

In matters with an external effect and for the fulfillment of state tasks, a person must be clearly identifiable according to the legal situation, so that only the use of the official name is indicated, also in the interest of name stability. In implementation, this means that in matters with external effects, the use of the self-chosen name will not take place for the time being.

With the enactment of the Self-Determination Act (expected summer 2023), changes may occur for the first name change processes at the University of Potsdam.

How to change your gender entry and/or name at the University of Potsdam

First name change procedure for students

1. Legal requirements: As it has been practiced so far, in order to implement the change of name as well as change of gender entry in the university in all matters with external effect, it is necessary to submit the proof of the court or official decision, an extract from the civil status register, an amended birth certificate or a new official identification document issued on the basis of these decisions.

2. Extension of the legal requirements: If, in addition to the dgti supplementary identity card, the persons concerned prove that they have submitted a complete application in accordance with Section 10 of the TSG or similar circumstances, the change of first name/gender entry will also be made in all matters with external effect.

3. New regulations for internal communication: in online portals and for access, the UP can establish its own regulations for first name/gender entry change. Therefore, in these cases it is possible to use the student’s self-selected name.

The change of first name for internal affairs can be applied for. The following must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for this purpose:

Important: For matters with external effect, the self-selected name cannot be used for the time being; only the official first name is still valid. For matters with external effect as well as for the fulfillment of state tasks, it is necessary that the person must be clearly identifiable; consequently, in the interest of consistent name use, only a use of the official name is indicated.

This currently pertains to:

  1. Final documents (certificate, diploma supplement)
  2. Performance overview
  3. Certificate of de-registration
  4. Certificate of study
  5. Study history certificate
  6. Proof for pension insurance
  7. Proof of the preliminary average grade
  8. Clearance certificate
  9. Letter to the registration office requesting the extended certificate of good conduct
  10. Notices to be issued in individual cases

 Where can the self-selected name be used?

Internal university matters where the self-selected first name can be used if no official change is made according to the regulations still in force:

  • PUCK (Potsdam University ChipCard) - student ID card
  • Course: Attendance lists
  • Admission to module examinations
  • Note posting
  • Timetable students
  • TAN list creation (PULS)
  • Various electoral lists
  • Email to course participants (PULS)
  • Affairs related to the University Library
  • Correspondence between the student and examination administration


Possibility to change the gender

When enrolling, students enter their gender from the categories “female,” “male,” “diverse” and “not specified.” Students can then change their gender entry independently via PULS.

To the extent possible, the university does not use gender in salutations or on degree certificates.

First name change procedure for employees

For employees, Division 3 for Human Resources and Legal Affairs provides for a case-by-case solution until the Self-Determination Act comes into force (probably summer 2023). You can obtain information about the process from your HR administrator.

The change of first name can be made for internal purposes upon request:

If a change of first name is sought under the Name Change Act, the application to the competent authority is sufficient.

Legal Basis

On October 10, 2017, the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG), as the highest judicial authority in the Federal Republic of Germany, issued the following decision: “Persons who can be permanently assigned neither to the male nor to the female gender are violated in both fundamental rights if the civil status law forces to register the gender but does not allow any other positive gender entry than female or male.”

In accordance with the decree of this supreme court of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Civil Status Law (PStG, § 45b) was subsequently amended on December 18, 2018: “(1) Persons with variants of gender development may declare to the registry office that the indication of their gender in a German civil status entry should be replaced by another designation provided for in § 22(3) or deleted.”

There are thus now four options for recording gender: male, female, diverse, no registration. The BVerfG decision strengthens the right to protection of gender self-determination.

Since 2022: Cornerstones for the Self-Determination Act