I have noticed* that an undergrad student in a course I teach has "female" written in the "gender" field in the university intranet database (used for course enrollment, grading, etc.), although they present themselves as male in terms of appearance and pronouns.
I would have chalked it up to a simple clerical error, but then I realized that the student's name also is of a somewhat unisex character (it's common for men but not entirely rare for women as well, think "Andy"), so there is a small but nonzero probability the student is actually trans.
Of course I could just ignore the issue completely, but that would mean the wrong gender would keep being shown to dozens of other teachers for years to come, and that might put the student into all kinds of uncomfortable situations.
I'm thus trying to balance the invasion of the student's privacy by bringing this up in some way vs the invasion of their privacy caused by the problematic gender field in the database.
I was thinking about sending them a short e-mail along the lines of:
Dear Student, I have noticed the university records show your gender as female. Should you want to have that corrected, contact the Department of Student Affairs. Feel free to ignore this message if it is not relevant, I don't expect a reply.
Is there a better (read: more respectful, safer, less likely to come across as super creepy) course of action?
*: Noticing this didn't require any investigation whatsoever. When I open the teacher dashboard for my course,I am presented with a list of students. One entry in that list looks like
Andy Smith (F) (photo of a bearded dude)
That's not really easy to miss in a list with less than 30 rows.