UK varsity college re-writes 650 year-old dress code to suit transgender students

St. Catharine's College. Photo; wikimedia

St. Catharine’s College. Photo; wikimedia

A college at one of Britain’s oldest universities, on Wednesday in London re-wrote its 650-year-old dress code to accommodate transgender students and express the hope that other colleges would follow suit.

Mark Elliot, the dean of St Catharine’s College at Cambridge University, re-worded the dress code after a campaign spearheaded by American transgender student, Charlie Northrop, 25, who transitioned from male to female earlier this year.

He said previously male students had to wear smart trousers and jacket with a tie at formal events while women had to wear a skirt and blouse or dress.

Elliot said now students can choose to wear what they like as long as it was suitably smart dress.

`Smart dress’ is defined without reference to considerations of gender identity or expression.
Northrop, a classics post-graduate student, from Richmond, Indiana, welcomed the move.

She said transgender rights were becoming hotly contested globally.

“Men can wear dresses, women can wear suits, and non-binary people are free to define the outfits that feel most appropriate to them in a formal setting.

“I did not realise that this change would be so monumental; it is a sound wording that will serve future generations,” she said.

Meanwhile, the student union said the dress code campaign was a combined effort and was inspiring other colleges to adopt a similarly progressive ethos.

A recent report by European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) said some countries have progressed in giving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people legal equality.

Reports say transgender people could face discrimination in employment, education and healthcare and still face widespread violence.

The UN in its report in June said the progress towards giving LGBT people legal equality had been overshadowed by `brutal’ and `grotesque’ homophobic and transphobic violence which often goes unreported.

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1 Comment
  • Francis Uwaechi

    Wait, there’s one more… ‘dual gender’ where an individual’s gender identity may straddle both natural orientations simultaneously. Well, in a rapidly changing world, our society one supposes is becoming all inclusive and that can only be a good thing. It’s only a matter of time.