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We are protesting Smith’s exclusionary admissions policies for trans women. What makes a woman? Is it being assigned to a decent teacher who refers to you with “she/her” pronouns? Is it living in a liberal high school district that will permit changes on transcripts? Smith seems to think so.
Smith College Campus — Northampton, MA
Thursday, April 24 from 8:30-4:30PM. Please come right at 8:30 if you can!
Anyone can participate! Please email us at email@example.com saying you’d like to be involved to obtain specific details about what we’ll be doing. Any questions, comments, or concerns can be directed to our email.
All participants in the action will be required to do one of two things 1) attend a meeting at 2pm THIS SATURDAY APRIL 18 in the Campus Center Red Room where we will decide as a group how to conduct ourselves during this OR if you can’t make it 2) be informed about what was said at this meeting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The Trans Women At Smith protest action that will take place on April 24 is not being organized by Smith Q&A, although you can support this cause of Trans Women At Smith if you’re not in the area by liking + following their social media pages.
“Smith refuses to acknowledge that most trans women will not meet their draconian, unrealistic requirements, while simultaneously playing a game of verbal appeasement—as if we are to be placated and satisfied with a policy that isn’t at any sort of real policy. And so we’re gathered here today, to demand change.” — Calliope Wong, trans woman and current UCONN first-year whose application was rejected before it was even considered
What is a trans woman? A trans woman is a person who was assigned male at birth but who lives as a woman and/or identifies as female. Often a trans woman will simply identify as a woman without the adjective “trans.”
"When I tried applying to Smith, I was flabbergasted at how completely rigid their standards of what makes a woman were. You have to have female pronouns in all of your letters. I told the lady I was speaking to thank you very much, but no, and hung up." — Anonymous former prospective Smithie
Can’t all women apply to Smith?
Nope. Smith is only accessible to women who are able to get all “Female” gender markers on their Office of Admission materials: Common Application, high school transcript, 2 teacher letters of recommendation, one guidance counselor recommendation, and a midyear academic report. To apply as a trans woman, in practice you must have a very supportive family and/or school, the classed advantage of ample spare time to negotiate bureaucratic processes, and access to legal help. “Trans women…either have had to go and get schooling in their “F” identity that would satisfy Admissions, or have gone to a friendly and willing-to-help-out records-providing high school.” — Tobi Hill Meyer, trans filmaker/activist/academic/speaker
Well transcripts and letters of recommendation should be easy to get changed to affirm a woman’s gender, right?
No. The full support of your teachers and school district is a privilege most young trans women do not have. In states like Washington, individual school districts can make up their own rules about changing transcripts — any district is free to outright refuse. Most states require a legal name change — so if your parents do not consent to you changing your name or you cannot afford to spend $100 to do this it is likely that you cannot apply to Smith. Moreover, Ada Comstock Scholars, who are not traditional-aged students, have explained to us that many schools will also be unable to change gender markers on outdated or paper records.
“Trans girls dream big for their futures. There is no luxury in that. Education is the only choice at survival while living as trans.”
— Bet Power, Director of the Sexual MInorities Archives
In a recent study of transgender K-12 students conducted by , 31% reported harassment by teachers or staff, 5% reported physical assault by teachers or staff and 3% reported sexual assault by teachers or staff. Those who reported mistreatment in school were 50% less likely to earn $50,000/year than the general population. Low-income trans women are more likely to be unable to afford the necessary legal counsel for a name-change to be able to alter high school documents , and are more likely to be treated unfairly by staff. And it’s not just teachers doing the harassment: In a 2007 study by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 87 percent of transgender students reported that they had been verbally harassed because of their gender expression, and 53 percent reported that they had been physically harassed. The more harassment that students faced, the less likely they were to maintain higher GPAs, attend all their classes and plan for college. Trans girls invariably bear the brunt of this harassment. In fact, 53% of those lost to anti-queer hate murders in 2012 were trans women.
What can I do if I can’t make it to the protest?
To get involved on campus: a student group called Smith Q&A (not affiliated with this event) organizes around this issue and meets every Wed. at 8pm in the RCSG! Learn more at smith-q-and-a.tumblr.com
Or Call the Admissions Office (413-585-2500) or email our Dean of Admission (email@example.com) and VP of Enrollment (firstname.lastname@example.org) and share your thoughts on this exclusion policy!
Policies about transcript changing:
“Injustice at Every Turn A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey” by Jaime M. Grant, Ph.D., Lisa A. Mottet, J.D., Justin Tanis, D.Min.
help, my reading is really interesting but there’s a cute person sitting next to me
Jane Smiley, Say it Ain’t So, Huck: Second thoughts on Mark Twain’s “Masterpiece” (Harper’s Magazine, 1996)
This is perfect.
do you ever sorta just really really really really really really want to talk to someone
but you can’t because you are too shy and nervous that you will come off as clingy or annoying
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