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abby rose's picture

I agree with much of what nbarker has posted in Cautiously Optimistic, particularly the corncerning lack of support systems in place for trans women (as well as many other demographics that are already quite present on campus). The main questions I have been grappling with are: Is it wrong to welcome people into this environment if we do not have the proper support systems in place to ensure their comfort and safety at Bryn Mawr? Or is the imperfect bubble of Bryn Mawr a better alternative, proper resources or no, than the realities that exist in the lives in some (if not many) of the prospective trans women students?* I definitely think that if trans women were to be widely accepted onto Bryn Mawr's campus, it would be necessary to 1) educate the BMC community about trans life/concerns (because although BMC is a "welcoming" space, a great majority of students here have little to no knowledge of trans identity) 2) set up various support systems (whatever those may be, I'm not sure the extent) to ensure the mental, emotional, and physical safety of trans women (and men!) 3) carefully navigate media relations to protect the identities of current and future trans women who live on this campus. And those three steps are just the beginning. Not to mention that some of the things I listed aren't even in effect for certain groups who are already present on campus (i.e. students of color, of working and lower classes, trans men, those with disabilities, and others). 

I feel like when you pair identity with place it fosters a sense of permanence and impermanence at the same time. Permanence, because it is a place you can return to that seems more physically stable than any person in your life. Impermanence, because your home can be taken from you, or it can become tarnished in different ways that keep you at distance at times (i.e. traumatic events, physical destruction, etc.) These are both present for myself at Bryn Mawr, as I have found security in the steadfast buildings and flowering trees and open fields while I have simultaneously been disillusioned and discomforted by the ignorance of my peers. I think when you put your sense of home in a place, you need to take it with a grain of salt. But at the same time, that's the case with every kind of home whether it is within a place, your body, or your loved ones, or anything else. 

PS - shoutout to rb.richx for this great definition: "the current unifying concept of our communal home is for those who are hurt by the patriarchy." 


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