more on morehouse

Thinking about “The Mean Girls of Morehouse” from a different perspective, I’ve been wondering about transgender policies at single sex institutions. Do trans students have to be FTM (female to male) to attend a “men’s college” or does admission extend to women-identified men? What if the student transitions while matriculating? Would a female-identified (pre or post-op) be more accepted at a women’s college? And what about genderqueer or nonconforming students who identify as neither male or female (as is the case with some of the genderbending “plastics” at Morehouse)? Where do they belong? As biological and cultural gender identities become more fluid, non-sex-specific and single-sex colleges are being encouraged to address these changes on applications, in classrooms, and in very material ways, like ensuring that bathrooms and dormitories accommodate students of varying genders safely. The recent controversy over Morehouse’s “proper attire” extends beyond the clothing to the body itself. The policy in part reflects the homophobic culture that has long plagued Morehouse but the “dress code” also challenges us to reconsider our definitions of gender.


About jennifer williams

Jennifer D. Williams is a writer and professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies. She has published in academic journals and online at, PopMatters, among other sites. Jennifer is currently working on a book that looks at black women's urban literature between the Depression and the civil rights era.

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