Basil Soper, 27, a transgender student at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, has started a petition for a policy change to allow for his preferred name on school documents as he transitions. Soper claims he attempted to have his name changed on Moodle, the college’s online learning application, after being outed to other students, as the online learning suite contains forums and discussion boards that include students’ names that are viewable by other students.
Last spring, Soper says, a student from one of his classes approached him in a men’s restroom on campus.
“I was in the restroom and he turned around from the urinal while I was waiting to use a stall and he referred to me by my birth name,” Soper says. “He said, ‘What do you think you’re doing in here. You don’t belong in here.’”
Soper says the student was aggressive and, in the presence of others in restroom, the situation became uncomfortable and embarrassing.
“I didn’t say anything,” Soper says. “I didn’t want a confrontation, so I walked out as soon as I could.”
It was then and after a couple other questions regarding his name on Moodle that Soper began to talk to administrators. Recently, Soper began an online petition on Change.org, in which he claimed administrators drug their feet and said names could only be changed with legal documentation.
“They didn’t do anything from the conversations I had with them,” Soper says. “They turned me away every time.”
Soper contacted the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the group sent a letter to the school. Soper claims that administrators shortened his feminine birth name to a more masculine-sounding nickname after receiving that letter.