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Gender Trouble

Trans women and women’s colleges

Patricia Williams column  discussed the issue of trans students at women’s college as if trans men are the only trans people who may attend a women’s college. There is also a parallel debate as to the presence of trans women at women’s colleges. Given that trans women are women, their right to attend a women’s college should not be in question. Some colleges, such as Wellesley College, claim to consider applications from any student who identifies as female. Others, such as Bryn Mawr, aver that their admissions staff reserves the right to "approach the situation on an individual basis to gain a better understanding of the student’s circumstances" when an applicant’s gender is in doubt (as per http://eredien.livejournal.com/320789.html ): in other words, they would subject a trans applicant to degrading, invasive treatment that a cissexual student would never be subject to. As far as I know, none of the remaining Seven Sisters colleges have ever graduated an out trans woman. Trans alumnae of these colleges fear reprisal if they reveal their assigned sex at birth publicly.

Surely the right of women to attend a women’s college is more important than the right of men to attend a women’s college.

Tim Chevalier

Mountain View, CA

May 5 2011 - 2:57pm