Cambridgeshire

Female-only Cambridge college to accept transgender applicants

Murray Edwards Image copyright Martin Bond
Image caption Murray Edwards is one of three all-female Cambridge University Colleges

A female-only Cambridge University college will now accept applications from transgender students.

Murray Edwards, whose alumni include broadcasters Claudia Winkleman and Sue Perkins, had only admitted women since its creation in 1954.

It will now consider those who identify as female and, where identified as male at birth, have "taken steps to live in the female gender".

Transgender students applications are being considered for the 2018 intake.

It also said the same criteria would apply for those students that wish to transfer to the college during their degree.

The college council has approved the change entry requirements and said it wants to be an inclusive environment and "takes pride in our open and friendly community".

Image caption Feminist author and academic Germaine Greer has criticised the move

A statement said: "Many of us within the college have sympathy with the idea that gender is not binary, and have concerns that narrow gender identities and the expectations associated with them are damaging both to individuals and to wider society.

"The college is also supportive of students who do not wish to define themselves as either female or male."

Murray Edwards is one of three all-female colleges at Cambridge University - alongside Newnham and Lucy Cavendish - and is the first to make this change to their entry policy.

Image copyright Martin Bond
Image caption Murray Edwards was founded in 1954 as New Hall with just 16 students

Dame Barbara Stocking, President of Murray Edwards College said: "We are a college that is open to all outstanding young women and so it is absolutely right, both legally and within our set of values, for anyone who identifies as female to be able to apply to study with us."

But Germaine Greer, who has lectured at Newnham, told the Daily Telegraph: "If they (Murray Edwards) really don't believe that gender is binary, then they really shouldn't be a single sex college."

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