A transgender high school student who applied to prestigious, private, all-female Smith College has been rejected because the school only accepts women.
Smith returned Calliope Wong’s application — and application fee — earlier this month, reports The Advocate.
“As you may remember from our previous correspondence, Smith is a women’s college, which means that undergraduate applicants to Smith must be female at the time of admission,” admissions dean Debra Shaver wrote in a letter to Wong, The Advocate says.
Wong has identified as female for several years, according to the Keystone Student Voice. However, on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Wong apparently checked the gender box saying male.
According to The Advocate, Smith’s rejection places reliance on the laws of Connecticut, Wong’s home state. The state categorizes Wong as male and would only recognize Wong as a female after expensive, complex sex reassignment surgery.
On August 15, 2012, Wong identified on a Tumblr blog as “a male-to-female transsexual girl.”
“Yes, I was born into a body with typically male parts,” Wong blogged last fall. “But I identify and am living as female. Prevailing scientific and medical opinions support the fact that who I am identity-wise is different from the gender identity typically associated my physical body.”
“I am not a rapist; I am not a criminal, and it is not fair to assume that I am such a person,” Wong also wrote. “Thing is, I’m a girl who wants to just wants [sic] her fair shot at Smith.”
However, the absence of certain required lady parts looks to be an insurmountable problem for Wong, even under Smith’s decidedly progressive policies concerning transgender students.
“As a women’s college, Smith only considers female applicants for undergraduate admission,” Smith proclaims in a statement called “Gender Identity & Expression” on its website. “And like other women’s colleges, Smith is a place where women are able to explore who they are in an environment that is safe and accepting.”
“Smith does not maintain records related to the gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation of its students,” the school also says. “Once admitted, any student who completes the college’s graduation requirements will be awarded a degree.”
Smith is a small private liberal arts college in Northampton, Massachusetts — the American city with the highest percentage of lesbian couples in the nation, according to City-Data.com.
Notable Smith alumnae include Nancy Reagan, Julia Child and a host of professional feminists including Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.