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Newsletter > June 2015 > "Acceptance of Transgender Students Grows in Women’s College and University"
Acceptance of Transgender Students Grows in Women’s College and University
Tim Burke, Manley Burke, firstname.lastname@example.org
With the announcement by its Board of Trustees on June 4, Barnard College became the last of the Seven Sisters’ Colleges to announce its willingness to consider for admission transgender applicants who may have been assigned the male gender at birth. The seven sisters join Mills and Scripts Colleges in California in doing so.
Smith College explained its position in a question and answer format on its website stating in part:
“Is Smith College still a women’s college? Absolutely, and its mission and legal status, Smith is a women’s college. Like other women’s colleges, Smith is a place where students are able to explore who they are in an open and respective environment.”1
Barnard’s statement emphasizes the continuation of its historical commitment to women’s education and states in part:
“In furtherance of our mission, tradition and values as a women’s college and in recognition of our changing world and evolving understanding of gender identify, Barnard will consider for admission those applicants who consistently live and identify as women, regardless of the gender assigned to them at birth. We will also continue to use gendered language that reflects our identity as a women’s college.”2
These decisions further demonstrate the rapidly changing understanding of gender identity. It should be anticipated that while this remains an area of developing law more and more colleges and universities will push student organizations to make clear their position and to encourage or attempt to require consideration for membership transgender students who self- identify as the gender of the members of single sex groups the students seek to join.
1 http://www.smith.edu/diversity/gender.php – Smith College website “Gender Identity & Expressions.”