Women-only Cambridge University college to accept transgender female students
LONDON: A women-only college in Britain's prestigious Cambridge University has changed its admissions policy to accept transgender female students.
Murray Edwards - whose alumni include Hollywood actress Tilda Swinton and British comedian and television star Sue Perkins - said students who were born male, but who live as females, will be considered for admission as of next year.
Transgender women who want to transfer to Murray Edwards college during their degree are also permitted.
"We will consider any student who, at the point of application, identifies as female and, where they have been identified as male at birth, have taken steps to live in the female gender," the college said in a statement.
"(We) have concerns that narrow gender identities and the expectations associated with them are damaging both to individuals and to wider society," it added. A growing number of British children are coming out as transgender, with some as young as three experiencing distress because their gender identities do not match their bodies, a mental health condition known as gender dysphoria.
London's Tavistock and Portman mental health clinic, which runs Britain's only gender identity service for children and teenagers, said its referrals had more than doubled to 1,419 in 2015/16 compared with the year before. The Lancet medical journal estimated in 2016 that there are about 25 million transgender people globally. They suffer high rates of depression - up to 60 per cent - due to stigma, discrimination and abuse, jeopardising their physical and mental health, it said. - REUTERS