America’s second-oldest women’s college will now accept trans women students

Stephens College in Missouri will now accept transgender women students. (Facebook: Stephens College)

The second-oldest all-women’s college in the United States has announced it will now accept trans women students.

Stephens College in Missouri has adjusted its admissions policy to accept transgender women and non-binary students assigned female at birth, but will exclude trans men.

The decision, which has been in consideration by the college since 2014, is part of a recommittal by Stephens College of its “singular mission of educating women.”

“Consistent with our culture’s expanding understanding of the definition of womanhood, the College’s admissions policy will recognize both sex and gender identity in its determination of a student’s eligibility for admission and enrollment.”

— Stephens College

The new policy says, “The college’s undergraduate residential women’s program will continue to admit and enroll students who are women and who live as women, just as it always has. It will also admit and enroll students who were not born female, but who identify and live as women.”

The college’s updated enrolment and admissions policy include a frequently asked questions document which aims to clarify the new changes. According to the document, the changes will go into effect for students beginning in the Fall 2019 semester. Students will be required to provide legal documentation if they were not born female, but identify and live as women.

“it is logically consistent that it also acknowledges both sex and gender in its definition of manhood.”

As part of the new policy, the college also said it would no longer admit students who were born female but now identify as male.

The new policy stated: “Because the college has expanded its definition of womanhood to include both sex and gender, it is logically consistent that it also acknowledges both sex and gender in its definition of manhood.

“As a result, the college will stop admitting and enrolling students who were born female but who now identify as men or who are transitioning from female to male.”

The policy change was made by Stephens College’s Board of Trustees, with KOMU reporting that the “unanimous” decision was announced to students and staff via email. The change will not affect students who are already enrolled at the college.

26 of the 39 women’s colleges in the Women’s College Coalition have now adopted admission policies recognising both sex and gender. The remaining 13 continue to consider their options.

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