Women’s College Welcomes Transwomen Students
September 19, 2014
Gender is usually not something most students need to think much about while working on their college applications. However, for applicants to single-sex colleges who are transgender, or might not fit into the guy/girl gender binary, things are a bit more complicated.
Mills College, a women’s college in California, attempted to simplify this issue for their applicants by expanding their admissions policy and clarifying what it means to be “female.” Their new policy was approved in May and went into effect on the first day of classes this year. According to the new policy, one only needs to identify as a woman to be eligible to apply. If the applicant doesn’t self-identify within the gender binary as either a guy or a girl, but was assigned female at birth, this person is also eligible. Finally, if any female students transition during their time at Mills College, they are allowed to continue their studies at the school. This means that the only people who cannot apply to Mills College are cisgender men and transgender men who have transitioned before starting their career at Mills College.
This policy is noticeably more inclusive than that of many other colleges. For example, last year, Smith College, a women’s college in Massachusetts, made the news when Calliope Wong, a transgender applicant who was assigned male at birth but identifies as a woman, was rejected because her financial aid papers identified her as male. The controversy started a discussion about whether traditionally single-sex schools may actually exclude too many people. Mills College’s new policy sends a message to both single-sex and co-ed schools to be more open with enrollment policies regarding members of the transgender and gender-queer community. Hopefully, with greater awareness of the issue, and schools like Mills College leading the way, people of every gender identity will be able to have the educational opportunities that are right for them.