Trans Students at Bryn Mawr
"It is time that we change and adapt to the needs of the students of the 21st century."
In 2011 and 2012, Bryn Mawr alum Aybala Ozturk '12 published several projects that explored the history of women at BMC and the inclusion of transgender students at the college today.
Ozturk created a timeline of Bryn Mawr's history with descriptions of the students and expectations others had about the student body. She shows that at first, this women's college was really only inclusive of upper-class, white women with a specific educational background. As the timeline progresses, the college admissions policies evolve and the college accepts students who are women of color and women of different socioeconomic status, and the college community eventually recognized that queer students were present on campus.
Ozturk published a fictional conversation between a trans woman and her mother and a fictional letter from this prospective student to the BMC administration about the college's admissions policies regarding trans women. She also created a Prezi presentation that depicts some of this history and advocates for the inclusion of transgender students. She declares that:
"Bryn Mawr College can and should continue to be a place for individuals who are being discriminated against based on their gender."
This applies to cisgender women. It also applies to all transgender people.
She argues that since "Bryn Mawr College was built on the notion of providing a group of people with equal educational opportunities when one was not available to them," and transgender students are currently experiencing difficulties obtaining equal educational opportunities, the college should recognize the similarities between these struggles and include trans students in the student body. At Bryn Mawr, "Women discriminated against based on their gender found a place where they were empowered to grow and encouraged to influence the world that surrounded them." Maybe Bryn Mawr has grown and should encourage the world to be more accepting of transgender youth. Accepting trans students would be a step in the right direction that would also send a message to others about transgender students' rights to access higher education.