Hey, everyone: I’m Calliope, a rising senior-gal in a Connecticut high school who is (just now!) discovering Tumblr for the first time. And I have a rather serious personal problem to share with you all that does not involve GIFs, cats, or BBC shows. My problem is with
my dream college
that superspecial place of ironwilled and astonishing women I want to be a part of
Smith College and its policies (rather: problematic UNpolicies) on accepting transwomen into its ranks.
Trans* Smith alum here.
So I’ve been asked a few times for what I think about this post, and now I’m going to tell you.
When it comes to trans* students, I disagree with many of the policies, procedures, and practices that Smith College has in place. I really do. That being said, this is one of the few instances where I kind of agree with them.
Now, before y’all go calling me a transmisogynist, hear me out.
Smith College is protected under federal law as a single-sex institution. That means it can only accept applicants who are legally recognized as female at the time of application. Were Smith to admit someone who is legally defined as male, it would then be forced to integrate any applicant who meets the criteria outside of legal sex/gender. That means going co-ed, and I can promise you, there would be severe financial and legal backlash for the institution. And I mean to the extreme—not just alumnae donations, but government funding as well. Becoming co-ed would also change the entire purpose of Smith, the academic environment, social environment, and college climate overall. I’m not saying that trans*women are men, but the government is, and that is what the college must abide by in order to maintain financial and legal stability.
Smith College does not think trans*women are rapists or criminals. I mean, give them a little bit of credit, my God. And no one I have ever spoken to (the Trustees, Admissions officers, the President, the Dean, and the Provost included) has ever expressed this idea. In fact, most don’t even consider gender identity a point of contention on either a personal or professional level. They are, however, obligated by law to adhere to legal definitions of sex/gender in order to admit students and retain their financial and legal standing. In order for the college to admit trans*women, the legal definition and legal requirements need to change. That, or they need to find a serious legal loophole.
Do I think trans*women have a place at Smith? Absolutely. Do I think the college should disregard legal requirements, and risk losing its status as a women’s college? Absolutely not. You’re talking about playing with fire, and if Smith College gets burned, that’s it. Game over. No more women’s college status. The fact is, the government is tying the hands of the college by defining people by their genitals. If the government could just quit being so obsessed with penises and vaginas, this would be a non-issue.
If you’ve got something to say to me about this, then do it. I want to engage in this discussion. Notice I said “discussion.”