Wellesley should admit trans students. Now. Here’s why.

monica byrne

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Photo: empty chairs in Houghton Chapel, Wellesley. Reunion 2013. 

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Early one spring morning in my sophomore year at Wellesley, before dawn, I was on the roof of Cazenove dormitory with my friend Ashley. We were continuing a conversation that had begun in the dining hall the previous night. We hadn’t slept.

We were arguing about gender. On this point, she was far more critical of Wellesley than I. She paced the roof, expressing her frustration the limits of our college’s touted “tolerance.”

I didn’t understand. I said, “So…you’re saying any man who gets sex reassignment surgery should also be admitted to Wellesley?”

“No,” she said firmly. “I’m saying anyone who thinks of themselves as a woman should be admitted to Wellesley.”

And with that one sentence, sex and gender unhooked in my mind as neatly as a necklace clasp.

Which is why it’s frustrating to me that, fifteen years later, my…

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