A student at Wellesley College who was born female but now identifies as a man shouldn’t hold office in student government because it would promote patriarchy, some of his fellow students say.
Timothy Boatwright announced earlier this school year that he intended to run for his class’ multicultural affairs coordinator, or MAC, position at the all-women’s school in Massachusetts. Boatwright admits he checked the “female” box when applying to the school, but upon arrival for fall classes announced he identified as “masculine-of-center genderqueer” and asked that students use male pronouns when referring to him.
When he began his campaign for MAC he faced three opponents, but each of the three dropped from the race for personal reasons, the National Review reports.
Shortly after, an anonymous Facebook campaign sprang up urging students to abstain from voting for Boatwright. Doing so would keep him from gaining the minimum number of votes necessary to be elected.
The reason for the campaign?
Boatwright is a man and some students feel it is inappropriate at the all-women’s school to have a man in an elected, leadership position.
“I thought he’d do a perfectly fine job, but it just felt inappropriate to have a white man there,” the unnamed student behind the “Campaign to Abstain” said.
“It’s not just about that position either,” the student said. “Having men in elected leadership positions undermines the idea of this being a place where women are the leaders.”
Boatwright told The New York Times that a good deal of the fear surrounding him taking the position is overblown. He points out that as a transgender student he actually represents a minority at the school — a seemingly good fit for the MAC — but admits to having conflicted feelings about running.
“The patriarchy is alive and well,” he said. “I don’t want to perpetuate it.”
One recent graduate, who asked not be identified because she felt her opinion could be unpopular, said she was troubled by recent changes at the school. Transgender students in leadership roles, she said, is not what women have in mind when they enroll at the school.
“Sisterhood is why I chose to go to Wellesley,” the physics graduate said. “A women’s college is a place to celebrate being a woman, surrounded by women. I felt empowered by that every day. You come here thinking that every single leadership position will be held by a woman: every member of the student government, every newspaper editor, every head of the Economics Council, every head of the Society of Physics. That’s an incredible thing! This is what they advertise to students. But it’s no longer true. And if all that is no longer true, the intrinsic value of a women’s college no longer holds.”