First trans scholarship offered at US university
A community college in California has announced that it will award a scholarship to transgender students and students who are active in the trans community.
The MiraCosta College is the first in the US to provide a scholarship specifically for the trans community.
The annual value of the scholarship will be $1000, raised through the help of donations from the college staff, students, Board of Trustees and by the local community.
The college will not take any steps to verify if the person receiving the scholarship is transgender.
A representative of MiraCosta’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) said: “To ask someone how they identify could unfairly out them and put them in an uncomfortable position and even potentially further victimise or marginalise them.
“So, questioning someone absolutely will not be done. It is inappropriate and it broaches confidentiality and privacy issues.”
The college GSA started fundraising in 2015 to establish the scholarship called Trans* Pride Scholarship.
The GSA organised different events to raise funds including a Queer Cupcake sale. By the end of their campaign, they raised $26,535.
“Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is welcome to attend or work for MiraCosta College,” GSA Faculty Co-Adviser Steven Deineh said.
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The scholarship will still be eligible for students who do not identify themselves as transgender if they can show commitment to supporting the trans community.
This includes working on social justice issues, volunteering at the local LGBTQIA centre or attending GSA meetings.
As MiraCosta is a public institution, to be non-discriminatory the scholarship could be given to someone who does not have any involvement in the transgender community.
“[If a] person who is not in the community or has no involvement in the community applies to the scholarship and is the sole applicant then they would receive it by default as the most qualified, and only, applicant,” the GSA added.
California is one of the most progressive states in the US and could become the first state to allow a non-binary option on official documents for its citizens.