morehouse, transgender men, admissions policy, sex at birth, Black college students

Morehouse Creates Transgender Enrollment Policy Starting Next Fall

Students, who identify as men, regardless of sex at birth, will be admitted.

Morehouse has a new policy that permits transgender individuals who identify as men, regardless of their sex at birth, to be considered for admission.

The gender identity policy will take effect in the fall 2020 semester after being approved by the Board of Trustees on Saturday.

Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, said in a press release on Monday the college’s decision is “a great first step for Morehouse that should be celebrated.”

Morehouse plans to create a task force to explore what changes need to be made on campus, such as where to place gender-neutral bathrooms, and how the policy will impact the college’s athletics programs.

Robert Brown, an alumnus who graduated in 1996, told CNN, there’s always been an LGBTQ population at Morehouse, but this policy takes, “important steps to enfranchising this population, rather than pretending they don’t exist.”

“When I was at Morehouse it was much more homophobic and much more transphobic,” he said. “It’s great to see the school embrace a broader spectrum of students.”

According to the 2015 United States Transgender Survey (USTS), it is significantly challenging to be Black and transgender. Approximately 15% of Black transgender men were unemployed; 27% were living in poverty and 39% experienced homelessness at some point in their life.

Elevating students into positions of leadership and service is part of the school’s core mission, and this decision came in part because applicants were concerned their transgender identity might be a barrier.

“We found that when our admission representatives were going out, oftentimes people would ask them, ‘Does Morehouse admit transgender people?’” said David A. Thomas, the president of the college.

Is the policy progressive?

Some say the policy is not progressive enough as it excludes transgender women students.

It states that “once admitted, students are expected to continue to self-identify as men throughout their matriculation.”

That means students that transition and identify as women would not be allowed to graduate.

Some have sounded off with the hashtag #MorehouseCannotEraseMe:

Challenges for transgender women often exceed those of transgender men in areas of relationship and family discord or dissolution, being kicked out of homes, having higher unemployment and more involvement in sex work.

“The policy was not driven by trans individuals who are on the campus,” Thomas said. “Our students were unclear if we were welcoming or open to transgender men applying. It wasn’t stirred by transgender men on campus.”

Georgia Equality deputy director Eric Paulk, who graduated from Morehouse in 2003, says the college’s process to determine whether a student stays at the college, if they transition from a man to a woman, is “an area that needs attention and fleshing out a little more.”

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