Barnard College to Accept Transgender Women

Barnard College to Accept Transgender Women

BARNARDweb1-master675Barnard College announced on Thursday that it will begin accepting transgender women, joining a slate of women’s colleges that have created formal policies on whether to admit students who do not identify with their birth sex.

The new policy, approved by the board of trustees on Wednesday, welcomes applicants who “consistently live and identify as women, regardless of the gender assigned to them at birth.” Students who enter as female and then transition to male while at Barnard will be able to stay at the school and receive a Barnard degree.

Transgender men, who were assigned female at birth but identify as men at the time of application, are ineligible for admission, as are students who identify as neither gender, regardless of their birth sex.

Debora L. Spar, the president of Barnard, which is part of Columbia University, said the decision came after more than a year of discussions, which included faculty, staff, students, alumnae, parents and members of the board, over what, precisely, the policy should be.

“When I first started hearing from trans students, I think as a human being, I couldn’t help but sympathize,” Dr. Spar said. “I think once you understand the human dimension of this, you want to do the right thing. The harder question then is, what is the right thing?”

With its new policy, Barnard follows other prestigious women’s colleges in articulating a stance on trans applicants and students at a moment when transgender people are more visible than ever. Just this week Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce, appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair.

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This article has been reposted from The New York Times.