UK: Female-Only Cambridge College to Allow Transgender Women

Transgender women will be allowed to enroll in one of the three female-only colleges at Cambridge University, the school has said.

The decision, made by the college council last week and announced on Monday, means that transgender women can apply to Murray Edwards College for a place in the term that begins next October, said a spokeswoman, Clare Stroud.

The college president, Barbara Stocking, said in a statement that, “We are a college that is open to all outstanding young women, and so it is absolutely right, both legally and within our set of values, for anyone who identifies as female to be able to apply to study with us.”

The school said it would consider applications from any student who “identifies as female and, where they have been identified as male at birth, has taken steps to live in the female gender.”

But it had no “hard and fast rule” about what those steps might be, said Juliet Foster, an administrator. She said applications would be considered on a case-by-case basis, including transfer applications from students currently enrolled at other colleges and universities.

“This doesn’t affect our single-sex status: We are a college that exists to prioritize women’s education and learning,” said Dr. Foster, a professor of psychology. “But legally, societally and generationally, there has been a change in the understanding of gender and what makes one female.”

The school, which was known until 2008 as New Hall and counts the actress Tilda Swinton and the comedian Sue Perkins among its alumnae, is one of 31 legally distinct constituent colleges at the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of higher education. Read more via New York Times