Inclusive Name Change @EPFL

A preferred name or chosen name is a name that a person uses in their everyday life, their social life. It is different from the birth name, also know as “given name” or “legal name”, which appears on identity documents. The “Inclusive Name Change @EPFL” project aims to allow members of the EPFL community to use their preferred name.

A preferred name or chosen name is a name that a person uses in their everyday life, their social life. It is different from the birth name, also know as “given name” or “legal name”, which appears on identity documents.

At EPFL, as of today, a simple and standardised administrative procedure allowing members of the EPFL community to use their preferred name is not yet in place.

For many people, particularly transgender people, changing their name officially (at the civil registry office) or unofficially (by using a preferred name) is an important step in their identity journey and in their inner and social development. Legally, in Switzerland, any person is free to use a first name (prénom) in all circumstances that are not related to the State, the first name (prénom) being protected as an element of personality [1].

The “Inclusive Name Change @EPFL” project aims to allow members of the EPFL community to use their preferred name. This project responds to requests from EPFL members, which are reflected in the open letters from Safe Space (April 2022) and PlanQueer (May 2022).

The project is led by an internal working group, under the coordination of the Equal Opportunities Office (VPT-EGA), with the participation of Safe Space members with the following objectives :

  • Identify the needs at EPFL and good practices in other institutions
  • Identify the relevant databases and systems
  • Identify the solutions already available for the identified issues
  • Submit a Digitisation IT [2] project (September 2022) that also explores the possibilities in terms of gender diversity
  • Establish a simple and standardised administrative procedure
  • Establish a communication strategy for the people who will have to implement these changes
  • Establish a communication strategy for people who whish to adopt a preferred name.

This page will be regularly updated as the project progresses.


[1] Articles 13 Cst. féd, 29 CC et 8 CEDH dans Arrêt du Tribunal fédéral 5A_113/2016 du 27 octobre 2016 ; BUCHER, p. 170 ; RECHER, p. 126 N. 47

[2] The IT Digitalisation projects emanate from the VPO and aim to centralise all requests from Faculties and Vice-Presidencies for projects that require work to be carried out by the DSI teams.