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Mills College Becomes the First Single-Gender College to Admit Transgender Students

There are currently 119 single-gender colleges and universities in the United States.

Mills College in Oakland, California, has become the first of those institutions to admit transgender students.

The college’s undergraduate admission policy on “transgender or gender questioning- applicants” now permits “applicants whose gender identity does not match their legally assigned sex” as of the 2014-2015 academic year.

In other words, applicants who were identified as male at birth but who now identify as female are welcome to apply, though applicants who were identified as female at birth but who now identify as male and have legally changed their gender are excluded from consideration.

Mills College expects that only a handful or so of the students in any incoming class will be male-to-female transgenders.

Last year, Smith College generated some controversy when it denied admission to Calliope Wong, a transgender student who was identified as male at birth, now identifies as female, but is still legally identified as male.

Despite Mills College’s progressive stance on this issue, the complexities in identifying gender in a world in which simple, binary categories have given way to ever more complex possibilities do reinforce the sense that single-gender institutions may be not just anachronistic but somewhat arbitrarily so.

Moreover, it is worth noting that the “mainstream” media has paid relatively little attention to this issue and that almost all of the coverage has been provided by the Far Right media and by LGBT websites and blogs. That this sort of story is now treated as “sensational” only by the Far Right media is in itself a major indicator of how far we have come as a nation in accommodating individual identities and in transcending gender categories and stereotypes.

The commentators on the Far Right would like us to believe that a society in which “male” and “female” no longer suffice as universal, binary categories is one in which fundamental moral values are in jeopardy. But the reality seems to be that a society that can accommodate the full spectrum of individual identities, including gender identifications, is one in which everyone has equal value—in which everyone has an inherent sense of self-worth and a full opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the common good.


About martinkich

I am a Professor of English at Wright State University, where I have been a faculty member for almost 25 years. I serve as the president of the WSU chapter of AAUP, which now includes two bargaining units, as the vice-president of the Ohio Conference of AAUP, and as a member of the executive committee of AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress. As co-chair of the Ohio Conference's Communication Committee, I began to do much more overtly political writing during the campaign to repeal Ohio's Senate Bill 5, which would have eliminated the right of faculty to be unionized.

4 comments on “Mills College Becomes the First Single-Gender College to Admit Transgender Students

  1. martinkich
    August 26, 2014

    Reblogged this on Ohio Higher Ed.

  2. Pingback: Mills College, a Selectively Progressive Institution | The Academe Blog

  3. Pingback: 2014 Through the Academe Blog: August | The Academe Blog

  4. Pingback: An Unintentionally Ironic Juxtaposition of News Items | The Academe Blog

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This entry was posted on August 26, 2014 by in LBGTQ, students.



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