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Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences

“Womanhood Does Not Reside in Documentation”: Queer and Feminist Student Activism For Transgender Women’s Inclusion at Women’s Colleges

By Shannon Weber, 2015

This article considers queer-driven student activism at Smith College, as well as admissions policy shifts at a number of prominent U.S. women’s colleges for transgender women’s inclusion. The author illustrates how student attempts to dismantle the transmisogyny at Smith as a purportedly feminist “women’s” space, as well as some women’s colleges’ shifts in admissions policy, challenge divisions between transgender and cisgender women. This paradigmatic shift reflects the campuses as comparative havens for gender and sexual exploration, the influence of postmodern gender theory in understanding identity, and the growth of “queer” as an all-encompassing signifier for sexual and gender transgression.

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