Bryn Mawr Widens Admissions Guidelines to Allow Trans Women

Illustration for article titled Bryn Mawr Widens Admissions Guidelines to Allow Trans Women

Bryn Mawr college announced Monday that after "months of study and consultation," they've decided to clarify their admissions guidelines to make the school more welcoming to transgender women as well as intersex and gender non-conforming people.


A group of Bryn Mawr alums and current students previously wrote a petition pointing out that the school's current policies were unclear and potentially unwelcoming to trans and non-conforming students, and encouraging them to write a policy that is "explicitly encouraging and welcoming trans women and people outside the gender binary to apply, especially given that there are already trans and nonbinary students on campus." They added:

Avoiding a well-defined policy does not allow for greater inclusivity in admissions; on the contrary, it creates unnecessary and discouraging roadblocks for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students applying to Bryn Mawr. The Bryn Mawr community deserves a clear, intentional, and well-articulated admissions policy protecting all prospective students, including trans, nonbinary, and intersex students, and especially trans women. In addition to a comprehensive admissions policy, we need campus protections and support for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students and applicants. Without these basic changes, Bryn Mawr cannot claim to be a women's college or an advocate for gender equality.

Today, President Kim Cassidy announced that the school's Board of Trustees have voted to "more clearly articulate" who is welcome to apply to the school:

Specifically, the board-accepted recommendation strongly affirms the College's mission — to educate women to be future leaders — and in this mission context more clearly articulates the eligible undergraduate applicant pool. In addition to those applicants who were assigned female at birth, the applicant pool will be inclusive of transwomen and of intersex individuals who live and identify as women at the time of application. Intersex individuals who do not identify as male are also eligible for admission. Those assigned female at birth who have taken medical or legal steps to identify as male are not eligible for admission.

Cassidy's statement adds that in some cases, "where an applicant's gender identity is not clearly reflected in their application materials," Bryn Mawr might ask for additional information "which could include verifiable legal or medical steps taken to affirm gender. In evaluating such additional information, the College fully intends to be as flexible and inclusive as possible."

Image via peroshenka/Flickr



The New York Times Magazine did a fascinating story on the evolution of women's colleges and transgender students/applicants a few months back. It's well worth reading and includes some interesting perspectives on how (or if) to welcome trans men into women-only spaces.

ETA: I'm not stating a position one way or another, just highlighting the contents of the article.