Women’s Colleges Address Transgender Applicants

Calliope Wong
Don’t worry, it’s good news. Over the last five years a steady and gradual improvement has been seen in the acceptance of state universities for transgender students, but to a large extent private colleges have been exempt from this change – especially in the case of sex-segregated private colleges.

Now that is starting to change. While some colleges did admit transgender students in the past, it was often done under the table in a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” environment. In other words, an environment which has both the student and the administration walking on the metaphorical eggshells.

Over the last month we’ve seen two women’s colleges come out and proud, announcing that they would be accepting transgender students in 2015. Mills College in California and Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts are some of the first, and certainly not the last to do this.

“What it means to be a woman isn’t static,” says Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella, who announced the admissions policy change at the college’s convocation ceremony. “Early feminists argued that reducing women to their biological functions was a foundation of women’s oppression. We don’t want to fall back on that.”

Of course these decisions are not without criticism by alumni.

The policy shifts have not been fully embraced within Mount Holyoke’s extended community. Some alumnae voiced their displeasure on the college’s Facebook page following the announcement.

“Mount Holyoke is a women’s college, and it should admit women. Period. Full stop,” wrote Pamela Adkins, a Tampa, Florida, resident who graduated from Mount Holyoke in 1979.

In a follow up email, she said: “There are plenty of other places for people who are not women to go, and they should go there. Don’t negate the reasons Mount Holyoke was founded and for what it has been known since 1837: providing a superlative college education — for women.”

In short, a transphobic statement. At least she was honest about her feelings.
Women’s colleges address transgender applicants – AP State News – The Sacramento Bee.

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