April 10, 2013

I want to talk about priorities. Frankly, Calliope Wong’s case is part of a problem that’s existed at Smith and many women’s colleges throughout their history, and this was just the moment the issue became public because it screwed over someone so clearly, and because she was badass enough to speak up. It’s a problem of how Smith as an institution understands gender. Years of policy and the reality of who’s at Smith makes it very clear: Smith prioritizes the gender assigned to you at birth over your actual gender identity. Which means, in practice, that Smith is not a “women’s college” – it’s a school for those who were assigned female at birth. That means Smith prioritizes a coercive, non-consensual gendering over how people understand themselves. You know, when a medical professional says “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl” without any input from you, and then you’re supposed to live in that box forever. To put it bluntly, Smith thinks the state and the medical establishment know what your gender is better than you do.