Yesterday, Spelman College, an all-women’s historically black colleges and university (HBCU) in Atlanta, Georgia, announced that the prestigious institution would update its admission process to include transgender women. The move comes a little more than a year after Dr. Mary Schmidt, President of Spelman College, established a task force to study and provide recommendations on whether the all-women’s college would admit transgender students.

This decision sends a bold statement to not only the HBCU community, but also the broader higher education landscape that they recognize transgender students, they deserve the same opportunities as other students and that we must make necessary provisions to ensure that will promote inclusive spaces for students. It will go into effect in the 2018-2019 school year.

“This is another example of how HBCUs continue to be at the forefront of social change in our community,” said Leslie Hall, Senior Manager of HRC’s HBCU Program. “It is important that our colleges and universities continue to raise their voices in support of LGBTQ students especially with the recent attacks on the LGBTQ, and particularly transgender, community.”

Just this week, Wellesley College opened its doors to transgender women for the first time.

HRC will continue to support college and universities like Spelman as they begin to admit transgender students. HRC Foundation’s HBCU Program has instituted a multi-prong strategy to create high-level policy changes that will support and protect LGBTQ students and staff on campuses around the country. Learn more about the program here.

The HRC HBCU Program will host its annual HBCU Leadership Summit for LGBTQ HBCU students on November 2-5, 2017 in Washington, DC. Accepted students will receive a scholarship which will cover their transportation, lodging and food. Deadline to apply is Monday, September 18, 2017. Application can be found at

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