Transgenderism is more than an identity. It is an ideology that represents the next phase of the LGBT-rights revolution. It mandates the decoupling of gender norms from biological identity. Transgenderism says that a male of the species can be a woman if he feels himself to be one. As an ideology, transgenderism requires society to recognize and validate a person’s self-defined gender identity even if it is at odds with their biology.
As the leading edge of progressive gender politics, it only makes sense that transgender advocates would be looking for colleges and universities to get in step with the revolution. But even willing progressives are forced into contradictions as they try to realign their institutions to accommodate transgenderism.
Enter Smith College, an all-female elite college that recently announced a new policy to admit transgender women—that is, persons who are biologically male but who self-identify as female. As long as one self-identifies as female on their application for admission, that is now all that is required. It doesn’t matter if their birth certificate says male.
But what happens if a biological female decides to transition to become a man? Well, there’s a policy for that too. That person would not be eligible for admission because they do not self-identify as female, even though they are female biologically.
But what about a woman who decides to transition to a man while she is a student at Smith? There’s a policy for that as well. It says,
The admission policy does not affect students who transition during their time at Smith. Once admitted, every student has the full support of the college and this includes transmen. And any student who completes the college’s graduation requirements will be awarded a Smith degree and welcomed into the Alumnae Association of Smith College.
And so that is the new policy, and it is fully accommodated to the self-identity of transgender persons. But I am wondering if it is fully accommodated to the school’s unique mission to “educate women.” I can think of at least one scenario that is not addressed by the new policy and that would seem to be at odd’s with the school’s mission.
What if a young man transitions to be a female and is accepted to Smith as a female? While a student at Smith, he regrets his decision and decides to transition back to being a male. Under the new policy, “any student who completes the college’s graduation requirements will be awarded a Smith degree.” Yet this particular student is biologically male, and he self-identifies as male. In what sense is awarding this man a degree in line with the school’s mission? He is no longer transgender and is no longer “female” in any sense. Has Smith College considered the fact that transgender identities are not fixed? Some people make more than one transition.
Doesn’t this scenario illustrate the contradictions implied by transgenderism? This is just one example, but we could multiply many other ways in which transgenderism is practically unworkable even for those who are willing participants in the revolution. As this cause goes forward, I predict we will see many more contradictions like this one.