Mills College, the well-regarded liberal arts school in the Oakland foothills, is a 160-year-old institution that until now, only women who were assigned as female from birth were eligible to attend.
That policy has now changed, as transwomen will now be admitted, making them unique among the nation’s 114 single-sex colleges. As Mills’ president told KTVU, “We were the first women’s college west of the Rockies. We were the first women’s college to have a computer science program. This is just another in many firsts.”
Better still, Mills College will not bar any student from graduating who transitions to male while he’s still enrolled. In case you’re wondering, trans people do get expelled from school. California Baptist College kicked Domaine Javier out for revealing she was born male, and courts upheld it. And only last year, Smith College, one of the famed Seven Sisters, leaned hard on a technicality to deny a trans applicant.
Change is coming fast to the way powerful institutions grasp gender. Just the other day, Fund Texas Women (the nonprofit that helps low-income patients access reproductive health in a very large state with very few clinics) changed its name. It’s now Fund Texas Choice, to account for the fact that not all patients who have abortions are women. (Remember the salacious brouhaha over Thomas Beatie, Oregon’s “pregnant man”? A lot’s changed in six years.)
Hopefully, we’ll soon see an all-boys school rethink its policy on what it means to be male, seeing as how those sorts of places are bastions of male privilege and all. But Mills has taken a very positive step.