here’s a copy of my letter to the Dean of Admissions at Smith College:
Dear Dean Shaver:
I have just learned of Smith’s decision to refuse admission to Calliope Wong on the grounds that she is a pre-op transwoman, and therefore technically a “man.”
I am writing to express my opposition to this decision in the strongest possible terms. Smith College prides itself on a progressive feminist agenda and has led the way to visibility and agency for queer women in the 70’s when I was a student on campus. As times change, and as notions of what constitutes womanhood evolve, Smith needs to evolve as well.
In short, the College needs to de-essentialize its understanding of gender and recognize transwomen applicants as women.
Please understand that I plan to withhold further financial contributions to the College until this discriminatory admissions policy changes, and I will urge my fellow alums to do likewise.
I hope that this matter can be resolved speedily. The future of Smith depends on its ability to continue to develop its progressive philosophy in education.
Stephanie Barbé Hammer, Professor
Comparative Literature and Creative Writing
B.A. English, Smith College, 1976