This piece was written by an upper-class Hobart and William Smith student.
I am a non-binary student.
“Genderqueer, also known as non–binary, is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities which are outside the gender binary and cisnormativity. Genderqueer people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression.” (Wikipedia, 2018)
I am strong — not strong like a man but strong like a strong person. I am nurturing — not nurturing like a woman but nurturing like a nurturing person. I am all-encompassing. I am divine masculinity and divine femininity. I am the sun and the moon. Gender is a social construct and I’ve denounced it from my life, therefore I am non-binary. Intrinsically, we are all non-binary but cishet people care too much about labels.
I have a vagina. I’ve always had a vagina and no one questioned my pussy power last year when I identified as a queer woman. My clit still works and you still can’t touch it.
I’m afraid to hand in my Preferred Primary Name, Gender, College Affiliation, and Chosen Pronoun Selection Form, which gives me the option to list my gender as “non-binary” and choose my pronouns to be just my name. I’m all about playing this broken system, but there’s a certain level of conforming to the institution in order to benefit from it. The scholarship funding my enrollment here is for a William Smith student. If I list myself as non-binary, will they take away my scholarship? You can say no, because my college affiliation would still be William Smith. Okay but what if I want to change my college affiliation to Hobart? Because I do. Wait, what? What kind of feminist are you? Turning your back on an all women’s college to graduate from an all men’s institution? Sounds like another woman I mean “person” sucking the patriarchy dry.
For starters, fuck you. Second, fuck the coordinate system. Fuck your traditions and fuck your transphobic alumni. I’ve been going to “Coordinate System Chats” since my first-year, for what? To prove that the Colleges realize that the coordinate system is problematic and pretend to be progressive about it? Talk is cheap and tuition is not. Give me the (HWS) degree I’m paying for and stop wasting my time. I think that’s what separates our current generation from those that preceded us: when we see a problem, we are open and eager to change. We are comfortable with taking genuine and productive steps to contemporize and update our understandings and practices. But this campus has proven time and time again that it’s conscious of how it hypermargianalizes POC, Queer and international students and STILL DOESN’T DO ANYTHING REAL ABOUT IT.
Okay so realistic action items? Here’s a few. *First, the Preferred Primary Name… selection form needs to have the option to be submitted electronically. Nice try but what genderqueer student wants to walk up to the Registrar’s front desk and hand in this form to a student worker who will then have to look at it and with a confused face have to ask the professional staff about what to do with it? *Second, train administration, faculty and staff on proper trans/genderqueer etiquette such as: not treating them differently from anyone else; not acting surprised/confused/disappointed because you didn’t expect it from a particular student; using the right pronouns; not making a huge deal in front of the class about messing up the right pronouns; and not demonizing “woman-passing” individuals who want to be affiliated with Hobart because why should I have to graduate with the less recognized degree because you think I’m a woman. I am not a woman, and I am not a man, and for that I am truly living a life of consequence at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Read more of the Coordinate Viewpoints by transgender, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming identifying / questioning students and alums.