Morehouse College is catching up to the times in a way that has sparked controversy: the school has announced that it will begin accepting female-to-male transgender students.
The move breaks an over 100 year old tradition of the Atlanta school’s status as the nation’s only all-male, historically Black, higher-learning institution.
David A. Thomas, the president of the college, said the decision was driven by a greater awareness of gender identity and the college’s need to have a clear policy, according to The New York Times.
“We found that when our admission representatives were going out, oftentimes people would ask them, ‘Does Morehouse admit transgender people?’” he said on Sunday.
Morehouse currently has a roster of 2,200 students.
But some say the move leaves them out in the cold. That’s because the school will ask biological males who transition to females while enrolled will not be allowed to continue to attend; the school will also dismiss any biological female who identifies as male but potentially decides to once again identify as female to leave as well.
Transgender students who began to transition while attending Morehouse and now identify as women said the new policy ostracized them. Tatiana Rafael, 28, a Morehouse student, was accepted when she identified as male and transitioned to female while she was enrolled.
“It is very lonely being the only transsexual woman on campus,” Ms. Rafael said. “I feel erased and marginalized most of the time because the image that Morehouse presents is the all-male image and in that image they don’t make room for a trans woman.”
Morehouse’s move comes as the Trump administration moves to rollback Obama-administration era protections for the transgender community.