Transgender woman Calliope Wong, a high school senior from Connecticut, says that all-female Smith College is discriminating against her because she was born male.
Wong has sent two applications to the school, but her papers have been returned without even an official admissions review. The school is blaming the situation on a problem with the 17-year-old’s paperwork.
Wong indicated on her federal application for financial aid that she was male in order to coincide with her Social Security number. However, her admission materials describe her as female. The college says it cannot process her application because of the gender conflict, reports ABC News.
"Smith is a women's college, which means that undergraduate applicants to Smith must be female at the time of admission," Dean of Admission Debra Shaver wrote in her rejection letter. "Your FAFSA indicates your gender as male. Therefore, Smith cannot process your application."
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a professor in the Smith program for the study of women and gender said, "Smith is very committed to being a woman's college, but what does that mean when we talk transgender?”
She continued: "Smith is on the cutting edge, challenging gender roles and accepting lesbian women. Compared to the broader world, Smith tends to be out front. But the college is struggling to some degree on how to balance being a women's college and being inclusive."
Wong’s transition to becoming female has been "an ongoing and lifelong process." She has been presenting herself as female for the last two years.
"From the beginning, I was attracted to Smith as a college for 'iron women,' women who had the willpower and knowledge to effect real change in society," Wong said in an email. "As a third-wave feminist, I definitely saw Smith as a place for the empowerment of visionary, vocal and practical women who worked to close the gap between ideal and reality."