Women’s College Becomes the Second in the U.S. to Accept Students Identifying as Transgender

Mount Holyoke College has became the second college for women only in the United States to begin accepting applications from students that identify as transgender. The fall 2014 session marks the first in history for the western Massachusetts college and the response from the transgender community has been of high praise and excitement. There have been some questions raised as to what this means for Mount Holyoke’s status as the oldest women only college in the United States, while the announcement as a whole received a positive response on campus.

Lynn Pasquerella, president of Mount Holyoke, made the announcement at the school’s convocation this year. It was with great emotion that she spoke of the new policy that would welcome students that who identify as a female and will no longer be defined by the check of a box.

This new open policy will allow students to apply to the college if they were born female, identify as a woman and even those that were biologically born females who identify as males. This is really a groundbreaking change and a testament to the growing acceptance of transgendered people.

Lynn Pasquerella explains the reason behind the change, saying “In the past, the Common Application would have kicked out anyone who checked the mail box on the application. Now we have a section on the Common Application that allows that to talk about their gender identity.”

Mount Holyoke has a rich community of gay and lesbian students that have long wanted to see changes like this come into play. There is even a group of students that are steadfast in their belief that transgender students should have the option to attend Mount Holyoke. After advocating hard for the admissions policy to change, their hard work is certainly paying off.

The group’s leader, Jennie Ochterski, a senior at Mount Holyoke says, “One thing that we’re talking about is that people of multiple genders have always gone to Mount Holyoke. Mount Holyoke can be this pioneering progressive change and hopefully spread that message to other women’s colleges across the country – that trans women do belong in women’s spaces like Mount Holyoke.”

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