Reply to Senior Editorial: Marlborough should consider applications from transgender girls
Dear Senior Editors,
I wholeheartedly agree. I think, however, that when there is policy written and introduced to the community, there also needs to be campus-wide training as well, especially considering the immediate peril a trans student could face if a fellow student accidentally outs them. Learning how to respect privacy is also really important; unless the student offers up the information and wants to share it with, then don’t pry. Of course, there is also the possibility that a trans student wouldn’t want to be out at all for fear of being known solely as “the trans student” and not for their personality, talents, etc. And if that student came out to one person, then that one person needs to keep it confidential.
In the spirit of acknowledging and respecting the fact that gender is a spectrum, I’d like to lay out some other more immediately possible things I think would make campus a more inclusive and comfortable place for lots of people.
First of all, as it would be statistically impossible to not have some non-binary identifying individuals on campus, Marlborough also needs to establish gender neutral bathrooms as soon as possible on campus. Because there are non-binary identifying people on campus who feel (a) too scared to come out (b) alienated and uncomfortable every time they have to use the bathroom, which is something no person should have to go through.
Secondly, I think it’s also important that we stop using gendered terms when it’s unnecessary (i.e. addressing everyone as “ladies” or “girls”) and instead start using gender neutral terms like “guys” or “students” or even “Mustangs!”
Thirdly, there should be a pants-option for graduation that is, to be frank, cute. Nyala ‘14 (mentioned in your editorial) fought for people to be able to wear pants to graduation, and we should take their hard won victory and improve upon it even more by making it as normal as wearing pants on a regular school day. Maybe this means the class designs a pants option when they design the dress (if uniformity is preferred), or that Ms. Moser would approve whatever white suit/outfit one wanted to wear, but moving toward it being the norm.
Fourthly, and most importantly, is to continue the conversation. The ASM that Anna, Rebecca, and I—along with Dr. Banner and the awesome (!) members—presented should not be the last time we discuss gender on campus. I know there is a gender/sexuality portion of Health class, which Nyala teaches, but there needs to be something more all-encompassing, as well as a progression of discussion through the grades and one’s journey to graduation. That is no small feat, of course, but only good will come of education about something this complicated.
Gender is incredibly complex, and honestly, understanding gender as a mixture of several different grey areas shatters completely what I and most of us were taught as a kids. As challenging and overwhelming as understanding gender can be, especially in the context of an all-girls school, the best thing to do is be open to ideas, respectful of everyone’s identity, and aware that there is always more to learn.
Thank you, Editors, for writing this.
Co-president of Alliance