“A Man in the Women’s College” by Adam Polaski from March 21, 2011 tells the story of Aden, a trans male who encountered harassment while at an all womens university near Boston. Despite some tension with students and administration he appreciates his all womens education.
Specifically Aden said, “It’s really helped me to become a different kind of man. I think if I were at a co-ed institution, I would have tried harder to fit into the mold of what a man should be, stereotypically. And I think there wasn’t that pressure—I could be whoever I wanted to be because I was one of the few boys there. I definitely think it pushed me to go beyond what people expect a man to be.”
Aden also said, “They’re very good at [the college] at being open to the lesbian community, but that sometimes takes away from being open to transgender people. We’re kind of the forgotten group in ‘LGBT.’
Does Hollins support the transgender community in the same way it supports the lesbian community?
Hollins is not alone. Other all womens universities are also examining their transgender policies, as discussed in depth in the article “Women’s Colleges Examine Transgender Policies” By Allie Grasgreen from USA Today.
This national publication points to all womens universities such as Agnes Scott, which recently introduced gender neutral bathrooms, and Mount Holyoke, which offers gender neutral housing. The article also discussed Smith College’s policy which states, “Once admitted, any student who completes the college’s graduation requirements will be awarded a degree.” Grasgreen also mentions that, “One residence life official at Smith said she knows students who have transitioned to male while at the college and graduated.”
The author then writes, “That’s how it works at women’s colleges these days, but as recently as five years ago it was a different story, said D. Chase James Catalano, director of Syracuse University’s LGBT Resource Center.” Catalano, a trans male, is also doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has worked on these issues with Mount Holyoke and Smith.
This article was written in August, two months prior to the infamous chronicle article. If USA Today knew about our transgender policy, I wonder what they would have said about us.
Four years ago Hollins introduced into transgender policy. Is Hollins stuck in the past?
While other all-womens universities evolve to support their student communities, how is Hollins transitioning? What will you do to help Hollins transition?
Like almost every college, Hollins has an extensive wikipedia page that covers everything from academics to notable alumni. As a product of the social media phenomenon, a Wikipedia page is the result of anonymous and countless contributions. Each page is a mix of details that individuals deemed worthy to mention.
Noted right along side our student body statistics, is mention of our transgender policy.
What message do you think this sends to prospective students? Or potential employers researching your alma mater?
How does this policy represent you?
Hollins received national attention for its transgender policy in October when Don Troop from The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote the article “Womens University to Reconsider Hard Line on Transgender Students.”
Troop wrote, “Scholars and student-affairs officials agree that the Hollins policy is the strictest one they have seen at an American college. It just seems so unnecessarily punitive,” said Erin E. Buzuvis, a professor at the Western New England University School of Law who has written about transgender policy.”
What does our transgender policy say about Hollins? Does it reflect your values and beliefs?