More women's colleges are admitting transgender students

Several women's colleges have begun welcoming transgender students, marking a change that some say is long overdue, Collin Binkley reports for the Associated Press.

Since 2014, at least nine women's colleges have begun admitting all students who identify as women, regardless of their sex at birth, Binkley reports. They include several institutions that are part of the Seven Sisters: Smith College, Bryn Mawr College, Barnard College, and Wellesley College. Spelman College, the historically black women's college, reported that their acceptance of transgender students will take effect beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year.

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Given that the Class of 2025 is predicted to be the largest and most diverse group of students on record, additional colleges may feel propelled take similar actions in order to create an inclusive atmosphere. Some view these acts as a step forward, but say there's much more work to be done. For example, in at least one case, a transgender student reported that her institution was reluctant to guide her through changing her legal name.

Not all women's colleges are joining the trend. Binkley writes of one private women's college that has decided to only admit transgender women if they complete a legal and surgical transition from male to female. Some opponents of admitting transgender women argue that doing so undermines the mission of women's colleges to empower women, Binkley reports.  

Even so, both women and co-ed colleges continue to take steps to accommodate transgender students, such as adding gender-inclusive residence halls and restrooms, by offering medical insurance that covers hormone treatment, and by allowing students to choose their own gender pronouns, Binkley writes (Binkley, AP/Washington Post, 9/5).

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