On January 30th, it was reported that a transgender student was accepted to Sook-myung Women's University Law School. The students there said“it wasn't that special, but it was special to our society in Korea.” Then a week later, ‘the first transgender female student’ eventually gave up her registration.
In fact, this was not a problem legally. It was simply acase where a person whose gender was legally changed to female accepted to a women's university. The Supreme Court had already granted a gender correction ofa transgender person in 2006. That means legally no one can discriminate against those whose genders have been legally changed.Nevertheless, there has been a flood of discrimination against the transgender student.
While it was the first time in Korea, several foreign women's universitiesaborad have already allowed transgender admission. What’s most important is that they focused on self-identification for gender. Students who are not legally female or hadn’t gone through sexual reassignment surgery also were permitted admission to university. For example, Mills College in Oakland, California, did not require any legal or medical certificates to prove an applicant was a woman, but made it possible to apply for any student who defined herself as female.Moreover, Murrary Edwards Collegeat Cambridge Universityallowed the admission and enrollment of transgender women.The college president, Barbara Stocking, explained that, “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.”Some universities have even designated wider limits. Mount Holyoke College not only welcomed transgender women, but also allowed transgender men (who were born female) to enter the college.Lynn Pasquerella, the president of Mount Holyoke, said that,“The college felt that anyone who had the experience of being female should have a place at the school.”
The compatibility of women with transgender women, which is one of the concerns of the opposition, is not impossible. Smith College in the U.S. has set up a research team to establish a transgender admission policy and has gone through a serious process of discussing the relationship between identity as a women and transgender admission. Smith College, which has about 2,500 undergraduate students, has more than 200 mixed gender restrooms and has also set up locker rooms for all genders with shower rooms which guarantee private spaces.
The biggest issue in this case is the readiness. Aside from the legitimacy and compatibility of transgender students' in women's universities, someare still not ready to accept the evolving concept of female identity. The transgender student decided to give up herregistrationto Sook-myung Women's University because of herfear of the opposition.There is no denying that women’s universities exist to prioritize women’s education,however, there has been a change in the understanding of how gender itself is defined. We should respect theseself-definitions to ones own sexuality.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >