Simmons College Becomes Third All Women’s School to Allow Transgender Students

Simmons College, an all women’s school in Boston, has become the third in the nation to change admissions policies to allow transgender or gender nonconforming students to attend the college.

Helen Drinan, president of Simmons College, cited societal changes as a motivation for the policy reform. She said, “As an institution that values inclusion, Simmons College acknowledges this reality and believes that this policy is aligned with our values. We are a campus community that supports a full range of gender identity and expression.”

November is Transgender Awareness Month and the announcement of the policy change at Simmons College could not come at a better or more celebrated time.

The new admissions policy will now allow students to attend the school, who were born as females no matter what their current gender identity is. Students that were biologically born as males but now identify as females will also be accepted to the college. Simmons will not change its policy on admitting students who were born as male but do not identify as either male or female. Of course, male students that identify as male are not eligible to attend the women’s college either.

According to the college’s website, applications submitted by undergraduate hopefuls will not have to provide identification that is issues by the government that proves their given gender identity. The new policy change will not have any impact on students enrolled in a graduate program at Simmons as both male and female students are accepted to the degree programs.

The changes being made at Simmons ensures that students like Danny Boucher, a junior at the all women’s college won’t have to worry about gender issues resulting in being dismissed from the school. Boucher was born a female, but the 21 year old now identifies himself as a transgender male. He said, “As an out transgender guy, I have never once worried about being kicked out of school for this.”

The Vice President for Student Affairs at Simmons College, Sarah Neill, states that students won’t have to worry about not being able to complete their degrees if their gender identity has changed after enrollment either.

There are other changed in motion at the school as well in an effort to support the transgender and gender nonconforming communities in attendance. The college is working on being able to offer students medical insurance with benefit that are tailored specifically to transgender individuals. There will soon be more gender neutral bathrooms on campus as well to ensure that all students are safe and comfortable while having the necessary privacy.

Students at Simmons are receiving the admissions policy changes very positively, with many viewing this as an important step for colleges and society.

Freshman student at Simmons College, Karina Bercan, said “I don’t feel that it is acceptable for anyone to have an opinion about someone else’s gender identity or expression and it’s hard for me to believe so many people can be so closed to change. It really is important that our culture moves towards inclusion of everyone, especially in terms of giving transgender students more opportunities in a supportive, safe atmosphere.”

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