According to the Associated Press, the board of trustees at Morehouse College on Saturday (April 13) approved the admission of transgender men, a policy that will begin next year.
Morehouse is the only all-male HBCU and the news comes during a time when higher education institutions around the nation are adopting more welcoming policies toward LGBTQ students.
Transgender men will be allowed to enroll in the school for the first time in 2020. Perspective students who identify as women but were born male cannot enroll. Additionally, anyone who transitions from male to female will not automatically be eligible to receive a degree from the college.
Officials at Morehouse described the vote as an important step toward being more inclusive. “I think Morehouse having the courage to speak to issues of masculinity in today’s environment is important,” Morehouse College President David Thomas told the AP. “For 152 years, the world has, in some way, seen Morehouse as the West Point of Black male development.”
Morehouse has a long tradition of producing iconic individuals, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Spike Lee. Its mantra is the “college of choice for Black men.”
More than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide have adopted some form of trans policy, including nearly 24 HBCUs. Human Rights Campaign spokeswoman Sarah McBride says the policies help ensure transgender students have a welcoming experience during their time in higher learning.
“Young people are incredibly supportive of LGBT equality, including transgender equality,” she said. “Schools are responding in kind. In many ways, our college campuses look like the country we’ll have in 10 or 15 years. There are a lot of reasons for hope.”
Morehouse also becomes the first standalone all-male college in the country to adopt a transgender policy. Indiana’s Wabash College and Virginia’s Hampden-Sydney College currently do not have a policy similar to Morehouse’s.
Hopefully Morehouse can be an example to other colleges and universities to have more inclusive LGBTQ policies, including ones surrounding admission.