The end of single-sex higher education
by Kelsey Paff
As one enters Mount Holyoke College’s Williston Memorial Library, a 1905 Westminster Hall-inspired structure, its grandeur stands out: thick wooden beams, perpendicular Gothic windowpanes, stone capitals. Great women studied on this campus: Emily Dickinson, Frances Perkins, Dr Virginia Apgar.
Fewer and fewer all-women’s higher educational institutions are left in the United States. Those remaining—colleges like Mount Holyoke, Smith, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, and Barnard—pride themselves on their guiding commitment to fostering the minds of tomorrow’s female leaders. It is thisexclusivity of service that has always set Mount Holyoke and other all-women’s colleges apart from co-ed liberal arts colleges.
Yet in September of 2014, Mount Holyoke College announced that, in addition to accepting female applicants and trans men (female-to-male transgenders), it would now accept trans women. In sum, the following people are invited to apply for admission:
- Biologically born female; identifies as a woman
- Biologically born female; identifies as a man
- Biologically born female; identifies as other/they/ze
- Biologically born female; does not identify as either woman or man
- Biologically born male; identifies as woman
- Biologically born male; identifies as other/they/ze and when “other/they” identity includes woman
- Biologically born with both male and female anatomy (Intersex); identifies as a woman
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