Gender Bender at Bay Area College

I wrote this article for my monthly column in the “Buffalo Gap News Roundup,” published in Buffalo Gap, Texas.

I admit it. I live in Kooksville.

An all-women’s college here in the San Francisco Bay Area is expanding its definition of female.  Mills College, near Oakland, is now the first single-sex college in the country to spell out exactly who is eligible to attend their women’s school.

I know a thinking person would assume “all-women” meant just that, but again I live in Kooksville so obviously folks like me need to be clued in.

Brian O’Rourke (yes, interestingly a man), Vice President for Enrollment Management at Mills, told KTVU-TV that Mills needed to update its admission qualifications. “We felt we needed to have a [new] policy in place. We really are a place of inclusion,” he said.

The new inclusive policy states “applicants who self-identify as women, even if they’re not female at birth” may attend the school.  Translated, this means men who feel like a women (makes me think of that great song by Shania Twain), have the XY chromosomes and all their male parts, but for some reason want to tinkle sitting down (so to speak), can apply for admission at Mills.  The official name for these types is “transgender.”

“It is still possible for him to come to Mills and graduate,” said O’Rourke with a smile.

Perhaps O’Rourke should have said, “shim” instead of “him?” After all, Mills is a women’s college. Just thinking out loud.

Of course Mills will also accept “transsexual” women. These are guys who surgically swapped out their male equipment for female parts.

But wait, there’s more.

The school is also proud to announce, “applicants who are neither male nor female but were assigned to the female sex at birth” may also apply.

You read that right.  And it was news to me too: people who were born neither male nor female but assigned to the female sex at birth. 

Could you imagine the conversation that must have occurred in the delivery room?

“What is it doc, a boy or a girl?”

After a long pause the doctor says, “Yes.”


Brian Sussman

Reader Interactions


  1. Bob says

    After 60 years on this Earth a marriage of nearly 34 years a lovely 32 year old daughter I just realized that I don’t know what my sexuality orientation assignment is? Who knows maybe it isn’t too late for a scholarship to Mills College. WTF
    Bay Area Bob

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