Morehouse College, a historically black all-male school in the US, will admit trans male students by 2020.
The college in Atlanta, Georgia, announced the implementation of the Gender Identity Admissions and Matriculation Policy after it was voted in by the Board of Trustees on Saturday (13 April).
Under this policy, trans male, non-binary and gender non-conforming students will be eligible to apply to study at Morehouse from next year onwards.
Morehouse’s policy follows a similar move by Spelman College in 2017 when the private, historically black all-female school expanded its application to include trans women students.
However, some trans rights advocates have criticized Morehouse’s move for not being inclusive enough, as it still excludes trans women.
‘We’re proud to expand our admissions policy’
With around 2,200 students, the prestigious Morehouse College has been described as ‘the West Point of black male development’.
The college boasts a number of distinguished alumni, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson.
Morehouse says that its new trans inclusionary policy was developed after 15-months of community engagement with the college’s staff, students and alumni.
Terrance Dixon, Morehouse vice president for enrollment management, said the move was a step forward for the college.
‘In a rapidly changing world that includes a better understanding of gender identity, we’re proud to expand our admissions policy to consider trans men who want to be part of an institution that has produced some of the greatest leaders in social justice, politics, business, and the arts for more than 150 years,’ Dixon said.
The policy states that: ‘Once admitted, the student is expected to continue to self-identify as a man throughout his matriculation at Morehouse.’
It adds that trans women or those undergoing male-to-female gender affirmation treatment will not be allowed to enroll in the school.
Morehouse also bans male students from dressing in women’s clothing or wearing makeup.
‘It appears to be half-baked’
While Morehouse is one of the first all-male schools in the US to adopt a trans-inclusionary policy, some current and former LGBTI students have said the move does not go far enough.
Speaking to Buzzfeed News, former student Titi Naomi Tukes said they ‘unequivocally disapprove’ of the new policy, saying ‘it appears to be half-baked’ and did little to protect trans women at the school.
‘[At] worst, it is violent and a clear target against trans femmes which includes women and nonbinary femmes,’ Tukes said. ‘Trans women will be antagonized and expunged from the college.’
Tukes added that the college did not consult members of the trans community before drafting the policy.
However, Dixon disputed these claims, highlighting the time and engagement which went into drawing up the policy, and said its implimentation was still an ongoing process.
‘This is all very new to the entire community,’ Dixon said. ‘This is not something that’s going to change overnight or for the next year. We will form another group that will talk about how this will all play out for us operationally in implementation.’