Editor's Note: This article has been made into an episode of The Advocate's podcast The Ten.
Click here to listen to Zach Stafford explore how historically black colleges and universities are re-thinking gender with Tre'vell Anderson, Director of Culture & Entertainment at Out Magazine.
Atlanta's Morehouse College announced on Saturday morning that the all-male school will broaden its admission's policy next year by including any person who identifies as male – regardless of sex assigned at birth.
Morehouse College Board of Trustees approved the Gender Identity Policy on Saturday morning and it will allow individuals who self-identify as men, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth, to be considered for admission in the nation’s only historically black school for men.
The private, all-male college is the first historically black institution for men to make this policy change.
“In a rapidly changing world that includes a better understanding of gender identity, we’re proud to expand our admissions policy to consider trans men who want to be part of an institution that has produced some of the greatest leaders in social justice, politics, business, and the arts for more than 150 years,” said Terrance Dixon, vice president for enrollment management at Morehouse. “The ratification of this policy affirms the College’s commitment to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service.”
The policy was developed after 15 months of community engagement with faculty, staff, students, and alumni led by a task force created by the President of Morehouse College, Dr. David A. Thomas, according to the college.
Morehouse follows in the footsteps of its sister school Spelman College that historically only admitted student who were assigned 'female' at birth. Last year, the school became the first historically black colleges to expand its policy and allow any person who identifies as female.
“In adopting this admissions policy, Spelman continues its fervent belief in the power of the Spelman Sisterhood,” the letter from Spellman's president stated announcing the changes last fall stated.
“Students who choose Spelman come to our campus prepared to participate in a women’s college that is academically and intellectually rigorous, and affirms its core mission as the education and development of high-achieving Black women,” she continued.
These changes to the college's notorious gender policy were announced during the Morehouse's annual Parent's Weekend where current students and alumni visited the campus for programs and activities.
Officials say they are launching a task force who will do trainings around the policy to ensure that this new change that goes into effect late-2020 goes smoothly.