Morehouse College, the only all-male historically black college in the US, announced that it would begin admitting transgender men next year in a new policy that the college’s board of trustees approved on Saturday. While non-binary and gender non-conforming students will be eligible for admission, trans women will not be, and students who transition or begin to self-identify as female during their tenure at Morehouse will not be eligible to receive a degree from the college.
“Once admitted to the College, all students are expected to self-identify as men throughout their education at Morehouse,” the new policy states. And in an FAQ about the policy, the school confirmed that non-binary and gender non-conforming students are also eligible for admission.
Morehouse, in Atlanta, George, is a college with a rich history and distinguished alumni — among them, Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Its president, David Thomas, refers to it as “the West Point of black male development.”
The college’s announcement is the latest in the trend of single-gender schools revisiting admissions policies for transgender students. Mills College in Oakland, California was the first women’s college to admit transgender women in 2014. Spelman College, the all-female HBCU that shares an affiliation with Morehouse, adopted a new gender identity policy for students in 2017, and the first transgender woman graduated in 2018. But the road to colleges reversing their positions on admissions policies for trans students has rarely been smooth. Smith College, in Massachusetts, drew national attention and sparked student protestswhen it refused to admit a transgender woman in 2013, before finally agreeing to admit transgender women in 2015.
Tatiana Rafael, a current student at Morehouse College who identifies as a transsexual woman, told BuzzFeed News she believes the policy is discriminatory against trans women students. She said she believed the policy would not affect her ability to graduate because she was “grandfathered in” before the policy would be fully implemented. “[I will] make history as the first fully transitioned woman in the school’s 152-year history and the first female on the student record since the 1930s to earn a degree,” she said
At the same time, Rafael said she feels it is unfortunate for the trans women who come after her at Morehouse College, who won’t be allowed to matriculate. “Morehouse is missing a crucial opportunity to become more inclusive by purposefully excluding trans female students,” she said.
“In a rapidly changing world that includes a better understanding of gender identity, we’re proud to expand our admissions policy to consider trans men who want to be part of an institution that has produced some of the greatest leaders in social justice, politics, business, and the arts for more than 150 years,” said Terrance Dixon, Morehouse’s Vice President for Enrollment Management. “The ratification of this policy affirms the College’s commitment to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service.”
First I’m all for our LGBT community so I’m partially torn because Morehouse is a all male college , how are you trying to stay enrolled there if you are transitioning and plan on identifying as female? The college evolving and allowing this is a little ass backwards. I also feel it opens the door to attacks and hate crimes . Everyone not open or comfortable with transgender people for whatever reason, but you see and hear many stories about a transgender being beat up or attacked
I’m hopeful that this will turn out great and people are open to the change because at this point it’s already set in motion to happen.