Wellesley students voting on admitting trans men, nonbinary students
Students at Wellesley College are holding a referendum Tuesday to vote on whether transgender men and nonbinary applicants should be allowed to apply to the historically all-women school.
The results of the referendum are not binding, but rather a way for students to express their views on the issue.
The referendum also includes a vote on making the language used at Wellesley more inclusive of nonbinary and trans students, the student newspaper reported. Current Wellesley policy is to use female pronouns and similarly gendered language in institutional communications.
The college currently only considers an applicant if the prospective student “lives as a woman and consistently identifies as a woman.” Wellesley opened admissions to transgender women in 2015.
In a March 6 letter to students, Wellesley President Paula Johnson reiterated that the school will move forward with “our mission as a women’s college.”
Johnson noted that some students who began identifying as male or nonbinary during their time at Wellesley feel excluded by the college’s use of the words “women” and “alumnae.”
“We commit to doing more to acknowledge and respect individual identities,” Johnson wrote. “Despite the best efforts of faculty and staff, we know that students regularly report being misgendered.”
Around 2,500 students attend Wellesley. It’s not clear how many of them identify as transgender or nonbinary.
The Wellesley News editorial board said they disapproved of and disagreed with Johnson’s letter, and condemned what they called “the College’s transphobic rhetoric.”
“Transgender and nonbinary students have always belonged and will continue to belong at Wellesley, a historically women’s college,” they wrote in the editorial.