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Trans and nonbinary students have long had a place at women’s colleges. Here’s what they want you to know

CNN — Just weeks before stepping foot on Smith College’s campus, Avery finally came to understand something that cast doubt on whether the small women’s college in Northampton, Massachusetts, would be the perfect fit for the incoming first-year student after all. 

Avery realized he is a transgender man. And Smith – while it opens its doors to trans women and some nonbinary applicants – does not accept admissions applications from trans men. 

“I was petrified,” said Avery, who is using only his first name because he is not out to his whole family. “What if people don’t understand? What if I made a bad choice deciding where I wanted to go? I was just really scared that people wouldn’t be accepting of trans people at Smith.” 

Despite Smith’s admissions restrictions, college spokesperson Carolyn McDaniel told CNN: “Once admitted, every student has the full support of the college, and this includes trans men.” Avery was able to begin the school year, even though he feared he may not be fully embraced by his peers. 

Avery is among the trans and nonbinary students who do not identify as women and yet have been attending women’s colleges for decades.

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