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Tim Chevalier ([personal profile] tim) wrote2011-05-01 23:08
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Wellesley updates

For the current or former students / faculty / staff out there, tomorrow (May 2) is your last chance to sign the petition being circulated by current students; if you agree with the text at that link, then email Sarah Ditmars - sditmars at wellesley -- with your name and status (e.g. class year for alums).

I don't have much else that's new except to express some puzzlement at the comments I've been reading in the blogosphere to the effect that "Wellesley is not a historically women's college" or "Wellesley should not become a historically women's college". Well, that bird has flown, as far as I can tell, unless it's possible to be a "women's college" and graduate men. I've said all this before, but: trans men don't "become" men by transitioning, they are born male and live as boys or men for their entire lives, even though their gendered presentation may vary during the course of their life (the same as for everyone else!) and their level of conscious awareness of that fact may vary.

So, the fact that Wellesley is not a women's college is not up for debate. The question is how the administration narrates the story that justifies an (unstated) policy of considering applications from some men, but not others. I don't have an opinion on whether Wellesley should admit cis men -- I just think that if they're going to admit trans men but not cis men, they have to know the reasons why. If the policy is "we admit all people who self-identify as women at the time of application, and graduate anyone who's accepted and who fulfills graduation requirements," great! And if that is their policy, then they ought to have no problem whatsoever explaining to the public that they have alums who are men. Other reasonable policies are imaginable. But continuing to insist on the "women's college" label disrespects the inalienable right to be the final arbiter of one's own identity, for those students and alums who are male -- and really, for everyone, since when you take away that right from one person, you're saying it's not a universal human right and thus calling it into question for everyone.

In re-reading the Admissions office's statement, and discussing it with others, I continue to reflect on how the author seems to be trying very hard -- without actually saying so -- to make it seem as if my desire (as stated in the previous two paragraphs) for a reality-based discussion is the reason why they did not wish for me to interview prospectives. But, of course, nothing of the sort is true, since they made that decision while having one (1) unit of information about me: my gender. My opinions never entered into it, since they didn't ask for my opinions, or indeed, anything else!

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