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Marlborough should consider applications from transgender girls

Written by Senior Editorial Board

With the growing national awareness of the transgender community, Marlborough should write an enrollment policy that reflects an understanding of the gender spectrum. In order to better support gender-expansive students, Marlborough should state that it will consider the application of any student who identifies as a girl, as well as support all students who are enrolled if their gender identity changes. Nyala Carbado ’14 met recently with Head of School Dr. Sands about better supporting diversity at Marlborough (see page 3). Marlborough should be a safe space for all the students in the community, not just those who fall on the female end of the gender spectrum.

As a school committed to the education of girls, Marlborough should consider the application of a transgender girl because she is a girl regardless of her anatomy. Gender is different from sex, and a student’s gender is whatever that student says it is, a deeply personal identity. According to the GLAAD Media Reference Guide, a transgender girl identifies and lives as a girl but was designated as a boy at birth. Although opponents to this policy might argue that the nature of an all-girls school is binary, the reality is that gender is a spectrum. Marlborough’s current omission of a policy regarding transgender students shows a lack of recognition of the gender spectrum. The National Coalition of Girls Schools’ recommendation to its member schools this summer to consider applications on a case-by-case basis is inadequate. Writing an enrollment policy open to the applications of transgender girls would show that Marlborough supports all girls.

Marlborough should show its dedication to its diverse student body by stating that it will support all  enrolled students if their gender identity changes. Such a policy would not only set a tone for the School as a place that would support a transgender girl but would also show current students who may be questioning their gender identity that the School supports students across the gender spectrum.

Just because we may not hear from transgender students yet at Marlborough does not mean they are not on our campus. A widely-cited 2011 study by UCLA’s Williams Institute, a think tank that researches gender identity and sexual orientation policy found that around 700,000 Americans are transgender. An enrollment policy could give a voice to students who may feel silenced in an environment that defines itself along gender lines.

Inclusiveness and diversity have been central to the School’s dialogue as Marlborough focuses on the Core Value of  community this year. That welcoming and appreciation of difference should extend to students of all gender identities.