Morehouse College Will Admit Transgender Men in 2020

Morehouse College, the only Black all-male college in the United States, announced that it will admit transgender students who identify as male in fall 2020. The Morehouse College Board of Trustees announced the policy change in a statement on Saturday, noting its “commitment to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service.”

“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 new policy was developed after 15 months of community engagement and work from a task force created by Morehouse College President Dr. David A. Thomas. The policy will also create diversity and inclusion programs, as well as facilities that will support the new admissions policy.

Thomas told The New York Times on Sunday that the college previously did not have a clear policy on the admission of transgender students. “We found that when our admission representatives were going out, oftentimes people would ask them, ‘Does Morehouse admit transgender people?’”

Thomas also clarified to The Times that the policy “was not driven by trans individuals” who are currently on the college’s campus. He added that current students did not know whether transgender men were welcome at the historically Black university. The president’s task force will now begin to assess campus needs to create diversity and inclusion programs, trainings, and facilities that will support the new policy.

The updated policy states that all students “are expected to self-identify as men throughout their education at Morehouse,” and notes that transgender women or individuals who identify as women cannot be considered for admission. If a student should transition from a man to a woman while attending the college, the student “will no longer be eligible to matriculate at Morehouse.”

There are exemptions from this rule, and it can be appealed, according to the policy. Monica Roberts, media coordinator for the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, told The North Star the Morehouse policy is “long overdue.” “While the new policy definitely is a huge step forward for trans masculine students, it does cause a problem for someone who transitions who is enrolled in Morehouse,” said Roberts.

The all-male institution was founded in 1867 and currently holds 2,200 students, according to the college. Morehouse currently has 17,000 alumni in 40 states and 14 countries, including famous alumni like Martin Luther King Jr., Spike Lee, and Samuel L. Jackson. Leslie Hall, the director of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program at the Human Rights Campaign, said that the program is “proud” of the new policy for admissions at the historic all-male Black college.

"We’re so proud to see Morehouse blaze new trails by opening up admission to transgender men. It sends a powerful message to trans men — especially Black trans men — that they are welcome, they are accepted, and they can have the same opportunities and college experience as their cisgender classmates,” Hall said in an emailed statement to The North Star.

Saint John’s University, an all-male university in St. Joseph, Minnesota, also amended its admission policies. In 2016, the school began considering applicants “who consistently live and identify as men,” according to the institution's website.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.