by Mariama Eversley and Ross Levin
The self-proclaimed “Diversity University” is at it again. Wesleyan University, located in Middletown, Connecticut, is prosecuting three trans* and gender-nonconforming students for taking political action to address transgender discrimination on campus. This comes just one year after the University reversed their need blind admission policy, and a rash of racial profiling by the campus police, Public Safety.
On Wednesday, December 4th, Wesleyan University will be holding a disciplinary hearing against the three aforementioned trans* and gender-nonconforming students. The charges against the three stem from actions taken this October to “degender” public restrooms. These students are being targeted because of their visibility in these actions and in the LGBTQ community on campus, despite no evidence that they are indeed responsible for the $5,245 in fines they are facing.
Beginning this October, Wesleyan students began removing gender signs from public restrooms across campus. In place of the gender signs, they posted new all gender signs as well as manifestos which explained their actions: “We demand that Wesleyan University stop segregating bathrooms along gender lines and provide all-gender bathrooms in all buildings in the University. We believe gender-segregated bathrooms create uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations for trans* and gender-variant presenting people. We believe gender-segregated bathrooms reinforce trans* invisibility at Wesleyan.”
The manifesto was signed by an anonymous group “Pissed Off Trans* People,” and the group provided manifestos and all-gender signs available for download online. The materials soon had over 200 downloads and many students outside of the original group were participating on their own.
The charges stem from one incident in the student center when a university employee stopped a group of five students suspected of degendering two restrooms. From this moment on things got confusing. Only three of the five students have been brought up on charges and face disciplinary consequences. These three students are being singled out for punishment because of their visibility in the LGBTQ community and are being forced to carry the weight of all degendering activism on campus this semester.
J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle:
Est-ce point celle que j’oy?
Je veus aller aprés elle.
Tu regretes ta femelle,
Helas! aussi fai-je moy,
J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle.
(I have lost my turtledove:
Isn’t that her gentle coo?
I will go and find my love.
Here you mourn your mated love;
Oh, God—I am mourning too:
I have lost my turtledove.)
There’s been a lot of talk these last couple of weeks about “hipster racism” or “ironic racism”—or, as I like to call it, racism. It’s, you know, introducing your black friend as “my black friend”—as a joke!!!—to show everybody how totally not preoccupied you are with your black friend’s blackness. It’s the gentler, more clueless, and more insidious cousin of a hick in a hood; the domain of educated, middle-class white people (like me—to be clear, I am one of those) who believe that not wanting to be racist makes it okay for them to be totally racist. “But I went to college — I can’t be racist!” Turns out, you can.
just made the best t.s. eliot joke
i was the only one who laughed
the kitchen table cloth is always sitting next to the table, never on it, and the table is covered in potatoes