All-female Smith College in to accept transgender students

Smith College — the 140-year-old women's college in Northampton, Massachusetts, whose alumnae include First Lady Barbara Bush, chef Julia Child, poet Sylvia Plath and authors Margaret Mitchell, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem — will begin accepting transgender students who identify as women this fall, the college said.

The college said that after a year of study, the Board of Trustees voted Saturday to "clarify" Smith's admissions policy to include people who are born male but self-identify as female. "The board's decision affirms Smith's unwavering mission and identity as a women's college, our commitment to representing the diversity of women's lived experiences, and the college's exceptional role in the advancement of women worldwide," it said.

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Women who identify as men won't be accepted, the college said, because "Smith does not accept applications from men."

Smith President Kathleen McCartney said she is appointing a working group to figure out how to support transgender and "gender non-binary" students — those who don't fit within traditional male or female identities.

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Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the nonprofit advocacy group GLAAD, welcomed Smith's decision, saying in a statement: "By opening its doors to transgender women, Smith College has joined a growing number of educational institutions that respect and afford equal opportunity to all women."

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