Mills College accepts men who identify themselves as women

Cesar Alexander

Mills College of Oakland, California became the first single-sex undergraduate school in the U.S. to accept applications from male applicants who identify themselves as women.

In a policy change that was unanimously voted upon in May of this year by their board of trustees’ enrollment committee, several clarifications were made in regards to gender-based terms for enrollment.

According to the Mills undergraduate application page, students who were not born with female anatomy but currently live and identify as women are welcome to apply. As well as “students who are legally assigned to the female sex, but who identify as transgender or gender fluid.”

However, “students assigned to the female sex at birth who have undergone a legal change of gender to male prior to the point of application are not eligible for admission.”

According to their mission statement, Mills College asks its students, “to think critically and communicate responsibly and effectively, to accept the challenges of their creative visions, and to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to effect thoughtful changes in a global, multicultural society.”

Christopher Kent, Administrative Support Coordinator for Sacramento State’s PRIDE Center, hopes to see the spark in the subject lead to more change all around.

“I know that within the last couple of years, there’s been a couple instances where transwomen have applied to a woman’s only college and have been denied,” Kent said. “Anytime that happens, it makes national news and obviously sparks the conversation.”

Mills has long supported the female identity through previous commemorations for the Transgender Day of Remembrance and resources provided through the school to facilitate their legal change of gender.

The forming of a Gender Identity and Expression subcommittee in Fall 2013 took a step towards progression which accomplished its goal by presenting, “the Report on Inclusion of Transgender and Gender fluid Students: Best Practices Assessment and Recommendations.”

As the 152-year-old establishment welcomed students in for the fall semester on Aug. 27, there were no changes in the environment besides the written words on the new policy, which is part of the school’s strategic plan for the next five years.

In the end, the new policy makes it clear that “self-identification will be the driving force behind the College’s eligibility decision.”

While the policy change has just been set, its impact is yet to be seen.

“I hope that more women-specific colleges allow transwomen because transwomen are women,” Kent said. “It’s not just about the admissions – it’s also about sexual assault policies and a variety of protections.”