Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Veronica Newton, PhD

Second Advisor

Katie Acosta, PhD

Third Advisor

Rosalind Chou, PhD


Since their inception, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have provided safe spaces for Black students who have been institutionally excluded from predominantly white academic spaces and denied access to an education based on their racial status. While HBCUs are credited for their Black-centered curriculums and campus cultures that allow for student development without fear of racial violence, HBCUs established to serve a primarily female or male student body must consider how their founding principles and institutionalized practices address the needs of students of diverse gender identities and gender expressions. Using an intersectional critical discourse analysis of campus policies and procedures, I investigate the extent to which Morehouse College and Spelman College acknowledge gender diversity among their student bodies. The findings of my research reveal that Morehouse College and Spelman College strictly adhere to their cisgender foundations and missions by perpetuating gender binary discourse, respectability politics, and cisheteropatriarchy through policies, practices, and traditions. My research calls for substantial, clearly defined, ongoing institutional efforts that center trans students and create trans affirming campus environments that dismantle the interdependent systems of oppression at the Colleges that uphold trans student oppression.


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