The ability to change the displayed name through canvas via web browser and add pronouns is an awesome feature. However, the inability to change the name displayed through the app makes the app unusable for trans individuals. The mental toll it takes to have to sign in daily and see an incorrect name is debilitating for folks with gender incongruence and contributes to our overall feeling of social dysphoria. This also poses a safety risk as displaying a transgender individual’s birth name publicly makes us feel unsafe and unwelcome in academic settings where our birth names are unfortunately tied to every part of our lives on campus. From my own personal experience, having my birth name displayed on campus has lead to my peers, TA’s, and professors refusing to use my preferred name which contributed to me withdrawing completely from my past major and nearly dropping out of school all together. After being publicly outed repeatedly, I no longer felt safe using public restrooms or locker rooms on campus. I worry about how this will affect my younger, trans students who are in high schools that are switching over to canvas as well. Another feature that puts trans folks at risk for harassment is the “people” tab where a public roster is displayed if the instructor does not opt to hide this tab. Changing both the app and the public roster would make canvas an amazingly inclusive platform.
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