Last week, one of the three female-only colleges at Cambridge University announced that they will now accept applications from transgender women. Applicants can apply for a spot in the Murray Edwards College for the fall 2018 term.
There have been many disputes over the last several years regarding transgenderism and its acceptance. Last year, debates spurred over whether or not transgenders would be able to use the restrooms in public areas associated with the gender they identify as.
Debates have also stirred about whether or not classes should be taught to young people about what transgenderism is. Additionally, several celebrities have stated that they will not call their child a specific gender until the child themselves says what they identify as.
Now, for the first time, female-only institutions are accepting applications from transgender women. The Murray Edwards College president, Barbara Stocking, released a statement about the decision.
She said, “We are a college that is open to all outstanding young women, and so it is absolutely right, both legally and within our set of values, for anyone who identifies as female to be able to apply to study with us.”
The school said that it will now be accepting applications from anyone who “identifies as female and, where they have been identified as male at birth, has taken steps to live in the female gender,” though they have not said how the process will occur.
A psychology professor at the university, Dr. Foster, said, “This doesn’t affect our single-sex status: We are a college that exists to prioritize women’s education and learning. But legally, societally and generationally, there has been a change in the understanding of gender and what makes one female.”
The college has been receiving mixed reviews from academia since making the announcement. Many gender rights advocates have commended the decision. Other notable figures in academia have expressed reservations. Germaine Greer, a feminist academic and former adjunct at Newnham College argued that transgender women are not “real women” and that this decision is hypocritical.
She said that if the college administrators “really don’t believe that gender is binary, then they really shouldn’t be a single-sex college…Their position is ridiculous. The only sane thing for them to do is cease discriminating on the basis of assigned gender of any kind.”
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