Trans women deserve equality in education

“In trans women’s eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognized as female, a raw strength that only comes from unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world,” says Julia Serano in her book “The Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and … Scapegoating Femininity.”

The treatment of transgender people is a huge issue in America and has recently been exemplified by a Massachusetts women’s liberal arts college. Wellesley College has recently amended its policy on accepting transgender women. Women who identify as female can now be admitted, regardless of their legal sex.

Acceptance of transgender women into a women’s college such as Wellesley is a huge step in the right direction for a greater acceptance of people who identify as transgender.

“I understand that for the colleges it’s a difficult decision because they’ve been sort of building their reputations, or their communities, based around a particular notion of what it means to be a women’s college, and what it means to be a woman,” said Lisa McLeod,  associate professor of philosophy. “I do think that people who identify as women … should be admitted into women’s colleges.”

People who identify as transgender face much oppression in America, and this is something that needs to change.

“Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth,” according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

GLAAD also states that transgender men and women are four times more likely to experience poverty. Ninety percent of transgender people experience harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job.

Twenty-two percent of transgender people who interacted with police reported harassment by police, and 46 percent of transgender people reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance.

Even though there is mistreatment of transgender people in our country in general, the mistreatment of transgender women is especially prominent.

“Trans women are subject to dreadful abuse and violence,” said Julie Winterich, associate professor of sociology and anthropology. “(Accepting transgender women into women’s colleges) is one springboard (to acceptance), and I think whenever you institutionalize identities, it opens up cultural conversation and recognition of the different ways folks are discriminated against.”

If women’s colleges across the country have begun to accept transgender women into their institutions, it could spark a more acceptance in society as a whole. The amount of discrimination that transgender people face is truly astounding and needs to be addressed.

Not only do changes need to be made in the higher educational system, but changes throughout society will help to create a world where people can be accepted for who they are.

Accepting transgender women into women’s colleges will be a huge step in the direction of justice and equality for all oppressed people, regardless of how they identify.

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