Calliope Wong: Meet the Smith Students Who Fought To Let Trans Women In Their School


After Smith College, an all-girls college in Massachusetts, rejected the admission of Calliope Wong, a transgender student who identifies as female, people got angry. Really angry. Smith Q&A, a campus group dedicated to fighting against transmisogyny at Smith College, campaigned against the school's administration in an effort to convince them to revise their decision. Although Wong was told her transgender status would not prevent her from attending the school, she received a letter of rejection based on a "gender marker inconsistency on her FAFSA, a federal student aid application."

When Smith Q&A presented a petition with a total of 4000 signatures to the College’s Director of Admissions, Deb Shaver, the school finally decided to act. Because of the unflinching determination of these campaigners, the administration has promised to "stop using the gender marker on the FAFSA form in evaluating transgender candidates for admission," and set-up a committee to meet at the beginning of the new school year to revise their policy when it comes to transgender students. 

GLADD is one of the big names that has actively backed up the campaign "No young woman should be denied the opportunity to learn simply because of who she is ... That Smith is having this discussion and listening to the community is a positive step, but the school still needs to ensure that no transgender woman is denied the chance to apply. Then, Smith will once again be blazing trails for women and setting an example for educational institutions everywhere." said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz.

Campaigners are hoping that Smith College's decision will set a precedent for schools all over the nation. "As a committee forms to address this issue, we will continue to advocate for a clear policy from Smith that fully protects trans women applicants from unfair and discriminatory obstacles during the admissions process," said Elli Palmer, one of the student leaders of this campaign.

No transgender student should be discriminated against.  Let's make sure this never happens again. Sign the petition and show your support today.

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