How do Transgender Students Fit Into All-Male or All-Female Colleges?

Just how do transgender students fit into, or  not, all male or all female colleges such as Mount Holyoke (for women) and Morehouse (for men)? This is a very good question asked by CNN writer Stephanie Chen. And it seems to be one that many schools haven’t developed clear policies for.

So, at some all-women schools, only women may be admitted. No men. But if one of those female students transitions and becomes a man while there, it’s all well and good. The same is true for all-male schools that may admit only men, but some of those men could conceivably transition to live their lives as women.

It’s an interesting question and remind me of the marriage issue as it pertains to same-sex marriage and transgendered individuals. After all, in states that don’t allow same-sex marriage, same-gender marriage often still happens. Specifically, although two  biological males may not be allowed to marry in such states, a biological male who lives as a man can likely very easily marry a biological female who lives as a man – though by all appearances, it may be two men who are married. But biologically, they may be male and female. Oh, the complexities of sex and gender.


About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at

  • Jeana Jorgensen

    This is an intriguing topic… do you think more schools will incorporate specific guidelines about transpeople as time goes on? I would hate to see more restrictions on who counts as what, but I think that if mainstream society continues to misunderstand and not accept transpeople, they’ll seek to stamp categories on them in order to make it easier to “deal with” them as a group without having to consider them as individuals with agency. (e.g. “according to our guidelines we just wrote, we don’t have to let you into our school! whew, that was easy!”)

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