According to Advocate.com and a few other sources Smith College recently denied a female transgender student admittance to the college and returned her application and application fee. According to the article:
“Calliope Wong’s application and fee were returned to her earlier this month. In a letter to Wong, Smith’s dean of admission, Debra Shaver, told Wong that “Smith is a women’s college, which means that undergraduate applicants to Smith must be female at the time of admission.”
Smith College does have a protocol to welcome transgender students, only as long as they legally identify as female at the time of admission. The school’s policy also accepts transgender men if they transition after they become students.”
The problem here is that Callipone’s FASFA reads male, because in some states like Connecticut (her home town) and Massachusetts (where Smith is located) your gender cannot be changed on legal documents unless you have gender reassignment surgery. This is costly, dangerous, and controversial procedure to undergo for someone who is high school senior/college applicant age. In Callipone’s Tumblr account, set up during her application process, she states:
“If I understand Smith correctly, this is perhaps the most obscene of rights violations that I have ever witnessed from a school. It’s not a loud and boisterous violation, which is all the worse: its sly wording hurts just as much but is hard to detect. By simply stating that only “females” may be allowed to apply and attend Smith, Smith College sets the bar for transwomen applicants impossibly high.”
This is a prime example of the intricate nature of Trans rights and justice, and the fight that trans youth and adults face on a daily basis in a dual-gendered societal structure. If even an all women’s school who proudly fights for women’s, lesbian, and bisexual rights has such a policy you know that trans rights is a hard battle to fight. You can read more about Callipone’s application experience, Smith’s policy, and more in this article.
Written by Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer