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Aug 26, 2014 12:14 PM EDT

Mills College Becomes First Single-Sex School to Accept Transgender Applicants

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Mills College has passed a new policy that has made it the first single-sex higher education institution to consider enrolling transgender applicants.

According to the San Francisco Gate, the all-girls school in Oakland, Calif. is now acknowledging that gender identity may not be just pink and blue. Mills' trustee enrollment committee passed the policy change unanimously in May and it has gone into effect in time for the beginning of the academic year.

The board explained that applicants who identify as female will now have the option of clarifying their gender identity. Mills College will now accept applicants "not assigned to the female sex at birth" and "who do not fit into the gender binary."

The new policy does not extend to people born female and legally converted to male before they apply. However, if a female is accepted to the school, they will be permitted to graduate even if they undergo a sex change in the midst of their education.

Skylar Crownover, an incoming junior at Mills, enrolled as a female but chose the male pronoun for reference.

"So the new policy says you're allowed to complete your degree, which is awesome," he told the Gate.

Crownover was voted the student body president for the upcoming year, but spoke as an individual instead of an elected leader.

"Mills has the most open policy with regards to trans students," he said. "It's been the unwritten policy of Mills for a while now, but to see it finally put down in words and to see it official is a great step."

Brian O'Rourke, vice president of enrollment and admissions at Mills, said he wanted to simplify the application process for students who are already wrestling with their own gender identity. Mills is one of 48 female-exclusive schools and 119 overall single-sex higher education institutions in the nation.

"Mills wanted to reinforce its identity as a women's college," O'Rourke told the Gate. "We're proud that we are a women's college at the undergraduate level, so we want make sure we're enrolling students who understand our role as a women's college even if they are questioning [their gender identity]."

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