This month, Simmons College in Boston became the third women’s college in the country to open admissions to transgender meaning students who were born male but now identify as female are welcome to apply. The new policy is far less radical than it sounds, since Simmons has been admitting transgender students for years now. The new policy is meant to be more clear and official in the face of changing gender identity trends in society.
Simmons accepts students who were born female but now identify as male as well.
Mt. Holyoke, also in Massachusetts, adopted a similar policy in September. Mills College in California became the first women’s college with an official policy of admitting transgender students this past May. Other women’s colleges like Smith and Wellesley are looking into transgender policies as well, although no changes have been made.
Since much of the pressure for the new policies came from students, they’ve been very supportive of the changes. Simmons also supports transgender students in other ways, like offering medical insurance that includes benefits for transgender people as well as gender neural bathroom facilities.
Women’s colleges, which were an essential part of the feminist movement, have often been seen as at the forefront of progressive issues, so it’s unsurprising that they have been among the first to adopt positive admissions policies for transgender students.
As a Jesuit university, Boston College has had a complicated relationship with the GLBTQ community on campus. In the past, BC has been listed among Princeton Review’s Least LGBT Friendly Colleges, although not in the most recent listings.
Many of the GLBTQ resources at BC fall under the umbrella of the Women’s Center. There are also several student groups for GLBTQ students, including Allies of Boston College, the GLC, which is a part of UGBC and Queer Peers, a discussion group led by students. Additionally, UGBC has made working on GLBTQ issues a priority, according to President Nanci Fiore-Chettiar and Vice President Chris Marchese.