Barnard College Will Start Admitting Transgender Women

June 8, 2015  |  

Barnard College announced it will begin to admit transgender women, joining  other women’s colleges, Smith and Wellesley. Barnard’s boards of trustees approved a policy that would admit applicants who “consistently live and identify as women, regardless of the gender assigned to them at birth,” are able to apply for admission. However, transgender men who are biologically female but identify their gender as male, cannot apply for admission nor can individuals who don’t identify as either gender regardless of their biological sex. Students, who have been enrolled as students at Barnard but wish to transition as males, may complete their degree at Barnard:

Since its founding in 1889, Barnard’s mission has been to provide generations of promising, high-achieving young women with an outstanding liberal arts education in a community where women lead. Every aspect of this unique environment is, and always will be, designed and implemented to serve women, and to prepare our graduates to flourish and make a difference in the world. This mission is powerful, and remains vital today, perhaps more so than ever.

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 identity, 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.

This admissions policy does not affect students who transition during their time at Barnard. Once admitted, every student will receive the individualized support that is an essential part of the Barnard experience. If, during a student’s time at Barnard, the student decides that Barnard, as a women’s college, no longer offers an appropriate educational environment, Barnard will offer guidance and resources to assist in making choices that are best for that student.

An English professor of Barnard, Jennifer Finney who identifies as a trans woman told The New York Times:

“Gender is at the center of a women’s college experience in a way that it’s not at a coeducational school. So if you’re a young trans person trying to figure out who you are, and struggling with gender throughout your whole life, of course you’d come to one of these schools, because it’s going to help you figure out who you are.”

Jezebel‘s Stassa Edwards notes despite the growing trend of admitting trans women to women colleges, her own alma mater Hollins University only admits transgender women if they had sex assignment surgery and completed all the necessary legal requirements of gender transitioning. Also, transgender males are ineligible to obtain a degree from Hollins. Not all trans students are being accepted through inclusive admission policies.

Transgender applicants who are interested in Barnard College may apply to enter for the 2016 fall semester.

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