Change Your World-NOT your Body

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mount Holyoke College and Transmen

In the next few weeks I'm going to go through the list of women's colleges in the US that are allowing "trans/men" to enter their female doors or remain there after "transition". There are multiple articles siting various women's colleges where "trans/men" are currently in attendance, if you are at a women's college or know of a woman's college where this bullshit is happening, please email me so I can include it in a post so we can inform young women and parents of this misogynistic tragedy and choose instead a college devoted to women, womens issues and women's education.

 Mount Holyoke claims to be the oldest women's college in the United States all the while admitting "trans/males" as students or allowing young women to continue there after they begin "transitioning" from female-to-male.

  












I scoured Mount Holyoke's website for info regarding admitting/allowing "trans/men" into their woman only spaces and found nothing. I did however find they have a public DOG policy!














Clearly this woman only school does not want to publicly disclose the "men" on campus or the "men" sharing close quarters/intimacies with the young women there.













Freshwomen who get strapped with a "trans/male" bunk mate are basically screwed because according to Mount Holyoke those women would have had to specify before even beginning school their preference for a female bunk mate at the WOMAN ONLY school where per Mount Holyoke's website they offer no info regarding the possibility young women may get a "trans/male" bunk mate!

















Let young women or parents of young women interested in attending this school know beforehand not only Mount Holyoke's unspoken rules regarding "trans/men" BUT make mention that by doing so Mount Holyoke clearly supports the destruction of women through medical misogynistic means with ZERO regard for the other women students that that medical misogyny effects!

dirt
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30 comments:

  1. Wow, Dirt, you go for it! This should be made widely available to all parents sending their daughters to seven sister schools.
    There should be no transmen allowed in those schools period, but awareness is the first step!
    Getting numbers of just how many transmen are on these campuses would be a good project too.

    You are a true investigative lesbian reporter!!

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  2. women's college "butch"May 28, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    If you want to know how many are at Mt. Holyoke its somewhere between 1 and maybe 4. I personally know one and it's a pretty small community so I'd be willing to bet there aren't more than a couple I don't know. FYI- "Although Mount Holyoke only considers female applicants for admission, it will award diplomas to transgendered students who become male or identify themselves as male by the time they complete their studies." Pretty clear.

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  3. WC(b), Thanks for the info, very interesting considering when I spoke with someone in admin a few days ago I was told there were "no trans persons on campus" and that the school was "women only". Hmmm *sniff sniff* I smell future lawsuit.

    dirt

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  4. JPLdyke,

    thank you for your comment!

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  5. I wonder if they allow MTF's. I'd feel just as uncomfortable being forced to roomie with an MTF, with their male thinking and 'femininized' behaviors, while subtly putting down those of us who aren't feminine(Butches) and implying because we're not 'feminine' we're not 'real women'. I also worry if they were to have a no transman policy(which I feel strongly about once they're fully on their way to transition) if somehow they'd lump Butches into that as 'not properly feminine' like the way so many women's colleges used to dykebait and kick dykes out in the '50's, 60's ect. and before then.

    You know how the trans movement is always trying to lump us Butches in there as 'genderqueer', even if we don't relate to that claptrap. I'd want it to be VERY CLEAR that the college is exclusively talking about those who are on hormones, surgeries, and all the rest, rather than those who are genuinely Butch and lumped in with the FTM types....so many of them are FTM in identity only, and are playing a whole game while really having no intention of transitioning or doing the surgeries.

    It's getting more confusing by the minute! I just don't want to see legitimate Butches hurt by ANY of this.

    But hey, I certainly agree with you on all this.
    -M.A.

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  6. I am a transwoman. For the life of me, I can't understand why a transman would want to go to an all-female school, just as I don't have any reason to go to an all-male school. Well, all right, I can think of one reason--and it's one of the reasons why single-sex schools were started in the first place!

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  7. Book(babe),

    Spoken like true MAN!

    dirt

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  8. Is that a dis or a compliment?

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  9. A simple fact. I only deal in facts.

    dirt

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  10. I graduated from Rutgers University. One of its colleges, Douglass, remains one of the few all-female schools.

    When I went to change my name and the "M" to an "F" on my transcripts, the person in the Registrar's office told me that recently, a Douglass graduate transitioned and wanted to change his diploma. They wouldn't; instead, this FTM was given a Rutgers College (my alma mater) degree.

    Now there's an example of an MTF benefitting from male privilege. Rutgers College was all-male until the early '70's. Partly as a result of that, its degree still carries more cachet than one from Douglass.

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  11. Typo: I meant that the Douglass story is an example of an FTM, not an MTF, benefiting from male privilege.

    I mix things up sometimes. I'm getting old: I'm turning into an absent-minded professor. And I'm blonde! ;-)

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  12. bookbabe,

    Interesting that you recognise male privilege in FTMs gaining access to women's colleges and the example you gave regarding the FTM gaining the upgrade to the more prestigious male college diploma was spot-on. Do you acknowledge/recognize male privilege in your own experiences? I would like to hear your comments on this.

    With regards to your comments about yourself, it sounds very much like you are trying to be affectionate and have a laugh by using comments like "I'm turning into an absent-minded professor. And I'm blonde!" Yes it’s sadly a common theme of social conditioning that women put themselves down in an effort to relieve tension or to take a submissive position in a group of women that appear more dominant or to feel less important/significant in the presence of men (and men do it to women in public and private to make themselves feel less insecure and to reaffirm patriarchy/male privledge). Women are self critical yes, but this is something we all fight against and are doing what we can to not validate this in ourselves or in other women.

    The "And I'm blonde!" comment is something that is notably sexist and not in any way acceptable especially in a feminist environment such as this blog. I think you are attempting to behave in a manner that you think is ok for women but this is an example of your socialization and what you have observed women doing but perhaps not critiqued this behaviour before adopting it. I would like to know what your thoughts are on this and male privilege among FTM and MTF.

    FA x

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  13. P.S

    MA, I'd like you to clarify what you mean by "'femininized' behaviors".

    FA x

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  14. I wonder if they allow MTF's. I'd feel just as uncomfortable being forced to roomie with an MTF, with their male thinking and 'femininized' behaviors, while subtly putting down those of us who aren't feminine(Butches) and implying because we're not 'feminine' we're not 'real women'. I also worry if they were to have a no transman policy(which I feel strongly about once they're fully on their way to transition) if somehow they'd lump Butches into that as 'not properly feminine' like the way so many women's colleges used to dykebait and kick dykes out in the '50's, 60's ect. and before then."-M.A. requoting my post

    Femme Avenger, look at the context of how I use it. I've been around MTF's who subtly and sometimes obviously put down Butches as well as conservative women's colleges did in the past, in a similar manner of 'not being REAL women' because we're NOT feminine. That our Butchness implies certainly that we're Lesbian, which we are....but in particular MTF's have implied that they're 'more woman than me' BECAUSE they're feminine. I've told them and certainly know this to my soul that Female does not equal Feminine. Female comes in all stripes, all flavors, but nonetheless it's something one is born with. Learning or adopting highly feminine behaviors to be taken as female does NOT make one so, anymore than bisexuals hiding out in the Dyke community and occasionally doing a man or two now and then or right now, makes one Lesbian/Dyke.

    I am not talking about biological females who are naturally feminine women here. I'm talking about the artifice of transition.
    I'm also talking about that lack of femininity, i.e Butchness or Butch Dykes have all too often been discriminated against and oppressed in female college environments in the past, as recently as the '70's and kicked out if they're found out to have Lesbian affairs. I wouldn't want this same dragnet to pull in Butch Dykes and censor them in any way...we ARE separate from the FTM's even if others see a 'continuum'.

    That's how I mean it.
    -M.A.

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  15. Femme Avenger,

    The fact that I have been able to make my transition, and to have the surgery, is at least to some degree a product of the male privilege I once enjoyed. I don't know how I would have been able to do any of it if I'd had to live and work my entire life under the rules and expectations people have for females.

    And, even though I had to give up much of the privilege I once enjoyed, I still have the residue of that privilege, e.g., from the fact that I was able to go to a well-respected school that was all-male for most of its history. That residue of privilege gives me advantages that most women don't have.

    As I did nothing to get that privilege or its residue, I don't feel guilty about having had or having them. Instead, I try to use them to help other women. I am active with the college's Women's Center and its Women's History Month events. They don't see me as "taking over" their spaces (mainly because I have no desire to be in charge of them). Instead, they realize that some of my experiences are useful to them, as theirs are to me.

    I have also been made aware of my privilege in my current job at a college in which the student body is seven-tenths female and four-fifths black. On top of what I've already described, I still enjoy a lot of white privilege, even though it has been diluted by my experiences.

    Another fact of my current life is that it's possible, in large part, to the degree that I conform to society's notions of a straight woman. I have never tried to fit into those notions; it just happens that I do. And I realize that they are indeed patriarchal standards.

    I sometimes joke about who and what I am because humor and irony are two of the best ways to strip stereotypes of their power. Sometimes I joke about the fact that I'm Italian (three-quarters, anyway) and grew up in pre-gentrification Brooklyn. And, when a student mentions a song or performer I don't know about, I'll say it's because "I'm so white." They laugh about it.


    I notice that Dirt and some commenters assume that I and other MTFs will criticize butches for not being feminine or for not transitioning into men. I'm sorry that some of you have had such experiences, but I am not like that. If you are a butch, well, then, you should live as one. I don't expect everyone to be the sort of woman or trans person I am. In fact, I owe my current life, at least in part, to a butch: She is the very first person to whom I "came out."

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  16. BB,

    I'm a woman, therefore feminine, so please feel free to point to where I've said males (Mtfs) have an issue with Butch women not being feminine, doesnt exactly makes sense dude.

    Also in light of female female impersonators, how is it you proclaim yourself a "woman" when you (all Mtfs) are impersonating an impersonator? Curious indeed.

    dirt

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  17. Firstly, Master Amazon,
    Seems to me that you are talking about what Dirt raised i.e., the overt behaviours of the 'female female impersonator' or 'faux queen' brand of femininity, am I correct?
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faux_queen#cite_note-impersonator-1). If this is the case, then certain incarnations of ‘feminine’ or feminine behaviour are problematic because they are ‘performance’ that alludes to a caricature of woman rather than a lived experience of womanhood? So it is not the ‘performance’ as such that is problematic, but what is being performed? I agree that make-up, clothing, hair style, shoes, walk and speech do not maketh the woman. But I also observe that Butches/butches like Femme Dykes are invested just as much in ‘performance’ of their womanhood. One is not born with a well maintained buzz-cut (wink at Dirt), leather pants, strategically positioned low-slung jeans, masculine cologne, chains, boots or trainers. We all ‘perform’ to a certain extent and perhaps the strength of what we do as dykes is in the meaning we hold to it and in the gaze it is meant for. Yes, I am Femme and at times dress more ‘feminine’ than any other women in my office. But the power in that is about being out about it and saying ‘this is for my enjoyment and that of my Butch’. The “fuck you dip shit!” that comes from my mouth if I’m gorked at is not something the ‘male gaze’ is prepared for.

    bookbabe,
    I can see that you have acknowledged you have male and white privilege and you relayed that you use this acquired capital in order to help women. To quote you.... "That residue of privilege gives me advantages that most women don't have. As I did nothing to get that privilege or its residue, I don't feel guilty about having had or having them. Instead, I try to use them to help other women."
    Would you agree that 'helping women' could include allowing them to meet as a group in order to discuss issues that were of concern to them? Acknowledging that groups of women have concerns that are of particular meaning, significance and importance to them and therefore should be able to claim a space in order to do this i.e., women of colour meeting as a group, indigenous women meeting as a group, transwomen meeting as a group and women-born-women meeting as a group?

    FA x

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  18. On another similar note, read something today that rears up again and again regarding lesbian feminism Vs all things genderqueer and it claimed; dykes that disagree with all things genderqueer are “HATERS”.
    Like I have said before, this was a tactic used by men during the first and second wave feminist movements in an attempt to silence women’s voices and prevent them from mobilizing and taking the power back (i.e., men were scared because women are supposed to sit and serve them and love it – it is all about them after all). What all those genderqueer mud slingers fail to realize is, those of us that understand and respect the need for women only spaces, we are NOT wishing you dead or any harm to come to you. WE are NOT the haters. You assume we wouldn’t run to your aid if we saw you being physically abused in public. We do not advocate violence towards anyone. What I have seen in comparison in the numerous comments sent to Dirt by transwomen, transmen, transbutches, queer femmes, FTM and MTF is the theme of rape and other acts of sexual violent directed at her in come back comments to her posts. This is NOT OK. This is disgusting, disturbing and very telling.

    FA x

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  19. FA,

    Spot on comment and I couldnt agree more! But none of it surprises me as both MENtf and ftMEN both sprang from the waters of misogyny.

    dirt

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  20. Thanks bookbabe for describing male privilege and how you benefited from it. It's useful information, now go out and educate other men on what they have to do to change.

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  21. Femme Avenger,

    "Genderqueer" seems to mean something different to everyone who takes the label. The supporters of genderqueer politics get to draw on any combination of these genderqueer identities, and get to ignore any others that might be inconvenient. But critics of genderqueer politics don't get the same leeway that supporters do. "Transgender" works the same way as "genderqueer." I've been accused of transphobia for criticizing certain cross-dressers.

    - Mary

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  22. "Genderqueer" just erases lesbians, it's as simple as that. Women get rewarded in patriarchy for erasing themselves, and have gotten these rewards for centuries.
    Why do you think het women still change their last names upon marriage to the male's last name? yeah, women are still doing this.

    So there you have it, the real agenda and why lesbians go along with it in "genderqueer"

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  23. Dirt:

    Mea culpa. (That's Latin for "my bad.") I conflated a response to one of your posts with your response to the response? Honest mistake.

    I do want to ask one thing, though. Everything I've seen on your blog rests on the assumption that biology is destiny, i.e., anyone who is "male" from birth cannot be anything but "male" and anyone who is deemed "female" at birth cannot be anything but, ever. On what do you base this assertion? Is it merely "because I said so"?

    I have no problem with you believing that. I just wish I knew what that, exactly, you base it on. There are, after all, people who are born with characteristics of both sexes and are assigned to one or the other on nothing more than a physician's judgment. And there have been cases of people born with one set of chromosomes but a body that is almost entirely incongruent with it.


    Also, I want to assure you that I have no desire to take over any women's (or even gender or queer) studies class. Call it my male privilege, but I've taken classes in those areas, and done more reading than the average person in them, and found them rather trite. They almost never explain the basis of the assumptions they make, on which they then base their arguments and theories. And they use arguments and methods that have long been since discredited in nearly every other area of intellectual inquiry.

    Femme Avenger,

    I agree almost completely with what you say. I believe that because most people want to spend at least some time with people who are like them, or whom they perceive to be like them, it makes perfect sense that they would want spaces filled with like people. I live in New York and see that every day: People of different backgrounds work or go to school together, but at the end of the day most of them return to communities where people speak their language, share their religion and even eat the same kinds of foods. Having such spaces is especially important for people who face hostility in the wider world. That includes trans people, butches and, really, most women at some time or another.

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  24. bb,

    Nature, pure and simple.

    I could glue a few hundred leaves to myself and plant my feet in the ground and maybe a passersby would think I'm a tree and maybe some wouldnt but regardless of whether if they did, by nature I would still be a woman.

    You cannot escape nature nor defeat it, it is the universe and EVERYTHING in and around it.

    dirt

    ps And this "most women at some time or another" little ditty regarding "hostility"? Priceless and sickeningly fucking patriarchal. Is it any wonder then why we live in a fucking rape culture! Jesus fucking Christ!

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  25. How is that comment patriarchial? Notice that I said "people who face hostility." While I followed that sentence with "That includes" and ennumerated some people who face hostility, I didn't say they "need protection" or anything that can be remotely interpreted that way. All I said is that it's normal for people to want to be around people who are like themselves and face the same struggles. It's the underlying organizational prinicple for everything from a butch space to a sports bar.

    You responded to my question with a circular argument. You say, "It's biology!" I ask, "On what do you base that assertion?" You respond with "It's biology" and an analogy that doesn't make any sense.

    You can complain all you want about the patriarchy (and I would agree with you, if you haven't noticed). But you're not going to get anywhere unless you learn how to think, make cogent arguments and answer questions--or, at least make some honest attempt at the latter.

    Then again, you probably think that everything I've just said is patriarchal. Chacun a son gout. Oh, wait a minute: I just used another patriarchal language--and one that's far more gendered than English, at that.

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  26. bb,

    Might wanna read the Plath poem I posted the other day..."All the gods (males) know is destinations".

    I'm a woman, therefore I do not share in that biological male "destination" drive.

    The same drive informing you that "woman" is an attainable "destination" when in fact not only are you on the wrong road being a male impersonating the female female impersonators, you havent even got the correct vehicle with which to begin your perceived "destination".

    dirt

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  27. You're completely wrong about me. I never regarded womanhood as a "destination." What I am now is part of the continuum of my life-path.

    There's another fallacy in your posts: They rest on the assumption that "they're all like that." Worse, you're lumping people into your categories when they don't belong.

    As I've said before, I'm willing to accept that you believe what you believe. I just wish that you could give me some sort of rational explanation for it. You know, if butches are as invisible as you say they are (a premise I'm willing to agree with) and that us MTFs and dem FTMs and reactionary women and men (oh, my!) are trying to invade women's studies programs and such, you have to be even more rigorous in your thinking and precise in the language you use to express your thoughts and the logic you use to defend them than any member of any privileged class needs to be. (Any black student who makes it past his or her freshman year understands that.) So, if you really want to make headway, you need to sharpen the tools in your kit.

    Oh, wait...tools...kit...such patriarchal terms!

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  28. bb,

    What I (and my beautiful Femme) are doing now suffices for my (our) specific purposes.

    But if you feel so strongly invested in Butch invisibility, by all means utilize your male privilege to do something about it.

    dirt

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  29. You didn't read what I wrote. I didn't say I'm willing to accept butch invisibility. I said that I'm willing to accept that you think that there is butch invisibility. And I don't think it's a good thing.

    All right...I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt: I'm assuming that you simply misread what I wrote. If I had your mentality, I would accuse you of putting words in my mouth. So, I stand by what I said before: You need to become a more acute reader and clearer thinker, and to learn how to use language more precisely. Otherwise, you'll never do anything but preach to the choir and to lose any credibility you might have been able to gain in the eyes of those who might have been willing to agree with you.

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  30. bb,

    Thanks for your concern.

    dirt

    ReplyDelete

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