Trans Lives at Mount Holyoke College Today
Everybody who identifies as transgender has their own experience and interpretation of their identity. Mount Holyoke College is a historic women’s college; the presence and prevalence of transgender identities is new in comparison to the long rich history of Mount Holyoke women.
The items in these exhibit cases are a part of the College’s recent history.
The oldest piece is a painting done by Jack Gieseking, class of 1999, completed in 2005. The most recent works are done by Levi Booker, class of 2020, completed in 2018. The items here give visibility to transgender alums and current students of Mount Holyoke as highly creative, intellectual, and valid members of the College and its history.
MHC changed its admissions policy in 2014 regarding the acceptance of transgender students. The response from alums of the College was mixed. Some alums threatened to no longer give donations if the Office of Admission accepted transgender students, while others were supportive.
The College’s transgender admissions policy differs from that of all other historic women’s colleges in the country. MHC is the only college that admits prospective non-binary individuals assigned any sex at birth, assigned female at birth transgender men, and assigned male at birth transgender women. Over a dozen women’s college campuses changed their acceptance policies surrounding transgender women in or around 2014. Mount Holyoke remains the most gender-inclusive historic women’s college in the country.
By Leo Rachman
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