In an historic and inclusive decision, Smith College – the nation’s oldest women’s college founded by a woman – will accept transgender women as students.
The largest of the prestigious Seven Sisters women’s colleges, Smith has been an institution for women’s higher education for over 140 years. Over the weekend, they announced their policy change via their website, saying: “The board’s decision affirms Smith’s unwavering mission and identity as a women’s college, our commitment to representing the diversity of women’s lived experiences, and the college’s exceptional role in the advancement of women worldwide.”
Previously, Smith College made headlines when it denied admission to Calliope Wong, a transgender woman. Many current students as well as alumni and LGBTQ groups protested and called for a reform of the school’s admission policies.
Now, Smith joins the ranks of other women-only schools – including Bryn Mawr College, Simmons College, Mount Holyoke College, and Mills College – in being inclusive of transgender female applicants.
As part of their announcement, school officials write that their decision proudly reaffirms Smith as a women’s college, and that all women who identify as such are welcome: “Smith College’s mission — to educate women of promise for lives of distinction — remains unchanged. The board’s decision reaffirms this mission in light of society’s evolving understanding of female identity.”
In order to be considered for admission, applicants need only select “female” as their gender on applications.
This is a huge win for trans women in being seen as our authentic selves in a women-only space, and we hope to see even more acceptance of trans people and our lived experiences, not just in higher education but beyond.