Students at Mount Holyoke College (MHC), a women's college in Massachusetts, are calling for full inclusion of transgender women as students at the school. While MHC has no official policy barring transgender women from being admitted, issues arise for trans women applicants whose legal identification documents do not reflect how they identify. Open Gates, a student organization at the college dedicated to transgender women's inclusion, lauded the recent statement from Mills College clarifying that all who self-identify as women are welcome to apply and be considered for admission.
MHC is located just 10 miles from Smith College, where the application of transgender woman Calliope Wong was denied consideration by the admissions department in 2013, simply because not all of Wong's official documents affirmed her gender identity. The student group Smith Q&A worked with GLAAD to bring attention to the Smith College's rejection of Wong, and highlight the need for an admissions policy supporting transgender women applicants. Despite Smith College's initial response to receiving more than 4,000 petition signatures calling for the equal treatment of trans women in admissions last year, students at the school gathered again in April to protest the lack of progress on this issue from the administration.
Members of MHC's Open Gates spoke to BuzzFeed, saying:
"Although there have not been any cases as public as Calliope Wong’s rejection from Smith College, we know that trans women have been similarly excluded from Mount Holyoke… We have hope for the future of MHC as a place where trans women can be members of the student body."
During Pangy Day, an MHC tradition and school holiday, Open Gates photographed students and community members who support the admission of trans women students at the college, seen in this post. See more photos from Pangy Day and learn about Open Gates at MHC here.