Being Transgender at a Same-Sex College

November 19, 2010

Imagine it. You’ve been attending the college of your dreams for three years. But there’s a problem: you’re at a men’s college, but you’ve come to identify as a woman. Or maybe you’re a woman at a women’s college, and you’ve come to identify as a man. Even if you were at a co-ed college, transitioning between genders is difficult, and it can complicate everything from choosing which bathroom you use at a restaurant to your photo ID.

So, what do you do when you’ve been attending a single-sex college, and you finally gained the confidence to start transitioning to a different gender? The coming out process isn’t instantaneous. Your friends may know when your family doesn’t, and people you have personal relationships with will almost certainly know before college administration. Should single-sex colleges demand that all trans people leave the instant they start to transition? That seems a tad unreasonable. If trans people aren’t being kicked out immediately, when should they have to leave, if at all?

Trans students have paid tuition, attended classes and done work the same as any other students. They may no longer fulfill a school’s gender or sex requirement for admission, but they’ve already been admitted. Kicking them out could easily be seen as punishing them for being a transgender person.

This isn’t a question with an easy answer. And as long as we only define people as either male or female, there will always be problems with this system, in every imaginable place.

Comment and tell us what you think about this issue.

—Leo Johnson, 15, Contributor

Posted In: LGBTQ
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