Mount Holyoke College was founded in 1837 by a pioneer in women's higher education, and has traditionally only opened its admission to female students. However, good news for those who were not born female, but identify as a woman — anyone who identifies as a female can now apply for admission.
The change in policy is now much more inclusive and realistic for the changing landscape of human gender identification. Reading through their new admission policy, I got chills and was nearly moved to tears. "Traditional binaries around who counts as a man or woman are being challenged by those whose gender identity does not conform to their biology," it reads. And while that concept proves to be difficult for many to understand, it's refreshing to see an official policy established that recognizes that simple fact — that sex and gender are not the same thing.
I also noted that they don't require proof that a person has been living as a female for any set amount of time, because they recognize that leaving home often affords freedom to be yourself that you might not have in your home environment. The college also states that they will not remove a student if their gender identity changes throughout the course of their academic career, which is in line with the policy they already have in place.
The announcement on Mount Holyoke College's Facebook page was met with celebration by many. "My genderqueer child is a student at MHC," writes Facebook user Aldebran Longabaugh-Burg. "There is no place like MoHome! Many thanks for embracing my child and their friends. You have no idea how happy this makes me." And Amy Gaidis writes, "Crying tears of joy! All my gratitude to every campus organizer who has fought for this over the years."
"Thank you for reaffirming your commitment to providing educational opportunities to all women, Mount Holyoke!" writes Rachel PKahn. "I have never been more proud to be an alumna than I am today!"
The college was founded long ago to create a space for women to receive a higher education — a notion so rare in the 1800s that the idea was completely revolutionary, and, many thought, completely unnecessary. Now they opening their doors to those who don't fit into society's traditional notions on gender. They are continuing that revolutionary line of thinking by including everyone who identifies as female, regardless of what sexual organs they were born with.
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