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Women-Only Murray Edwards College of Cambridge University to Accept Transgender Students

Formerly known as New Hall, Murray Edwards has, up till now, been a women-only Cambridge college

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Murray Edwards
The college wishes to support students who do not wish to define themselves as either male or female. PIxabay
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Cambridge, October 5, 2017 : Murray Edwards College at the Cambridge University, in a first of its kind step, has announced to consider applications from all students who ‘identify’ as female. The college wishes to support students who do not wish to define themselves as either male or female.

According to the official statement released by the college, the move comes from an understanding that asserts that gender is not binary. “Many of us within the college…have concerns that narrow gender identities and the expectations associated with them are damaging both to individuals and to wider society,” it said.

Formerly known as New Hall, Murray Edwards has, up till now, been a women-only Cambridge college.

Transgender students applications are now being taken into account for the 2018 intake. Alternatively, the criteria would also apply to those who wish to transfer to the college during their degree.

Gender issues have been at the centre of popular debates in the recent past. Due to increased attention and awareness, these exists a greater understanding of the complexities of gender in the present societies. The move by the council of Murray Edwards comes as an attempt to open their doors to ‘all exceptional women’.

Dame Barbara Stocking, the president of the Murray Edwards College was quoted by The Guardian as saying, “In order that we remain true to our mission of being open to all exceptional young women we recognize that it is right for anyone who identifies as female, regardless of their born gender, to be able to apply to study with us.”

Admissions Policy

The institute previously followed the admissions policy applicable to Cambridge University’s two other women-only colleges- Newnham and Lucy Cavendish. According to prevailing policies, these institutes accept applicants who are legally recognized as women.

However, Murray Edwards will now be opening its doors to students who ‘identify’ as a woman at the time of applications and to those applicants who had been identified as male at birth but have ‘taken steps to live in the female gender’.

According to reports, Lucy Cavendish is also expected to espouse a similar change after a council meeting.

The move has garnered mixed responses from the larger community.

On one side, supporters of gender diversity and the transgender community have appreciated the college for their decision. A charity organization, Mermaids took to Twitter to thank the college authorities for “embracing all young women.”

However, like every coin has two sides, the college authorities have also received significant backlash ever since the formal announcement was made.

The decision has been termed ‘ridiculous’ and ‘illogical’ by several feminists. A former lecturer at Newnham told The Telegraph, “If Murray Edwards really don’t believe that gender is binary, then they really shouldn’t be a single sex college.”

Top 5 LGBTQ Friendly Colleges and Universities

  1. Princeton University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
  4. University of Pennsylvania
  5. University of California Los Angeles
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Eating disorder can be treated in transgenders

Hormone treatment can turn down dissatisfaction that leads to eating disorders

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Study finds hormone treatment can cure eating disorders in transgenders. Wikimedia commons
Study finds hormone treatment can cure eating disorders in transgenders. Wikimedia commons
  • Western society’s obsession with idealized body shapes are linked to eating disorders.
  • Transgenders live in a dissatisfaction related to their body shape and weight.
  • Hormone therapy is a way of countering this situation.

A study finds, hormone therapy can help in reducing the symptoms of eating disorders such as anorexia and binge-eating among transgenders.

Western society’s obsession with an idealized image of beauty fueled a deep-seated unhappiness within people regarding their body. This directly links to eating disorders like self-induced vomiting and misuse of diet pills.

Transgenders live with a dissatisfaction related to their body shape and weight, which makes them vulnerable to developing eating disorders.

Western obsession of 'perfect' body shapes incites dissatisfaction. Wikimedia commons
The western obsession with ‘perfect’ body shapes incites dissatisfaction. Wikimedia Commons

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Researchers found that hormone treatment can improve this situation, tone down levels of perfectionism and anxiety. It can boost self-esteem and alleviate eating disorder symptoms.

“Young transgender people may restrict their food as a way to control their puberty, stop their period or reduce the development of breasts. Hormone treatment might be able to improve eating disorder symptoms in this population,” said Jon Arcelus, Professor at the University of Nottingham in the UK.

The team surveyed more than 560 transgenders, over the age of 17 years, 139 of which began the hormone treatment.

Transgenders have high-tendency of developing eating disorders. Wikimedia commons
Transgenders have high-tendency of developing eating disorders. Wikimedia commons

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The results showed that those not taking the hormone treatment were significantly more likely to report their need to be thin and be dissatisfied with their physique which further affected personal relationships and depression and anxiety.

Thus, eating disorder professionals should consider the gender identity of the person when assessing a person with symptoms of an eating disorder, the study suggested.

The study was published in journal European Eating Disorders Review. (IANS)