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First transgender Rhodes scholar selected in history as part of 2020 class

The 2020 class of Rhodes scholars will include a transgender individual for the first time. 

The Rhodes Trust announced the 32 selections for the prestigious program Saturday, and included among them was University of Tennessee graduate Hera Jay Brown, a transgender woman, according to The Associated Press.

The class also includes two nonbinary scholars and is reportedly the most diverse set of Rhodes scholars in history.

Brown reflected on her selection taking place during Trans Awareness Month in a message posted to Twitter on Sunday.

“As our rights and experiences as women are under threat, this moment has given me pause to reflect on what an honor it is to pave this path,” Brown wrote. 

The 32 people were selected out of more than 200 applicants from 90 institutions.

“This year’s American Rhodes Scholars — independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously — once again reflect the extraordinary diversity that characterizes and strengthens the United States,” Elliot Gerson, American secretary of the Rhodes Trust, wrote in a statement.  

As part of the scholarship, the winners will have all of their expenses covered to study at Oxford University for the next two years. 

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