By Dani Planer '19
CW: Sex, Gender Dysphoria, Body Dysphoria
I was ten years old when I first came to the realization that sexual intimacy, or the way it had been portrayed to me through popular media outlets and art forms, would never be something I could fully possess.
By Ritti Singh '18
CWs: Transphobia, Transmisogyny, Suicide, Mental Illness, Abuse, Ableism
This past weekend, I sat down with a friend of mine, a homeless trans woman who spends a lot of time at Mount Holyoke’s campus. She shared her unique perspective as someone who is both inside and outside of Mount Holyoke’s community. We discussed her experiences with academia, queerness, class, and disability.
By Guest Writer Maniza Ahmed '16
My professor often asks me, “Are you an anarchist?” Our last conversation about anarchy had to do with anarchist views on religion, although he is more interested in how a society could function without a governing institution. My interests transcend the state - I’m interested in all of the power structures (such as religion) that guide social life. Anarchy is a tempting ideal for those desiring to live without oppression and struggle imposed by authoritative institutions. It allows individuals to reclaim power and to resist the systems of oppression that inhibit the choices they can make in order to lead fulfilling lives. Anarchists oppose practices that limit freedom and choices.
*Credit where it’s due: “Your Love Will Set You Free” is a really good song by Caribou.
By Contributing Writer Madeline Klein '16
I think I might have been cisgender when I was very young. I enjoyed wearing dresses (except for when the tights or the crinoline under the skirts itched). I watched Disney princess movies and played with Barbie dolls. I never minded using the girls’ bathroom, and it never felt wrong when my parents referred to my baby sister and I as “girls” or “[our] daughters.”
Article and Photo by Anya Karagulina '17
***Trigger warning: emotional abuse
There’s a strange myth that queer relationships are free of abuse, emotional or otherwise. This article consists of a few half-answers as to why this myth persists.
Maybe this misconception exists because queerness can subvert cis/heterosexist norms. Maybe it’s because queer relationships are supposed to be impossible. In this world, to be with someone queerly goes against almost everything you’ve been taught. So what happens when you do find someone - someone queer who wants to be with you? What happens when your queer partner, who looks nothing like what you’ve been taught an abuser looks like, hurts you? What do you do?
By Emma Podolsky '18
What does it mean to be queer? The way I see it, queer means everything and nothing at the same time. PFLAG (https://community.pflag.org/abouttheq) defines queer as an umbrella term, including anyone who wishes to identify as queer and/or feels somehow outside the societal norms in regards to gender or sexuality. I find this definition of a term that truly escapes definition to be good enough for the working purposes of this article.
By August Burg '17
**Trigger Warning: Abuse mention, rape mention**
How many times have you heard someone tell a young male relative that “boys don’t cry”? How about, “pink is a girl’s color”? “You throw like a girl”? These messages shadow boys growing up, chase them and corner them into narrow confines of how they can exist in society. “What do you mean you’re still a virgin?” “Be a man.” “You’re so whipped.” Masculinity is so fragile and tenuous that there is a whole Tumblr dedicated to instances of men going to ridiculous lengths to assert themselves. Even wholesome companies like Burt’s Bees have a “men’s line”--the containers and bottles are charcoal grey with red writing, because apparently yellow is for women.
By Emma Podolosky '18
As a gender studies major, I should know this. I should know where non-binary, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming individuals fall into a contemporary feminism. But I don’t, and theory doesn’t give me what I need to know. Feminist practice leaves me feeling oddly empty where I know I should be full. In nearly every feminist scholarly reading I’ve encountered, the same narrative continues as followed: women versus gender, with women on the inside, and the ever-ambiguous “gender” on the outside looking in. Maybe the only exposure I’ve had to a non-binary feminism was about the mythical nature of it, of how we don’t exist within a feminist scholarship, and by that extension, don’t inhabit feminist spaces. As isolating as this story we’re told is, it’s a reality we as non-binary people face on a daily basis, our negotiation of the spaces we inhabit, and the spaces we can hold a claim to comfortably, safely, and without the fear that we’re “deceiving” people of our perceived femaleness or maleness in the process.
By August Burg '17, Contributing Writer
I’m a non-binary trans boy who used to be a girl. That is how I conceptualize my experiences. I’ve given it extensive thought and decided that that is the best way to frame it:
I felt distinctly and wholeheartedly female in childhood and early adolescence. I became more ambivalent later on in high school. Then gradually stopped identifying as female altogether as an adult, after I came to Mount Holyoke. I have no idea if being aware of non-binary genders at a younger age would have changed things, because I have zero recollection of doubting whether I was a girl or having any misgivings about it before age seventeen, when I discovered Tumblr and began looking at colleges. It feels more true to myself to say “I used to be a girl” than “I thought I was a girl.” And this does not make my experience any less valid. It does not make me any less real.
By Kimberly Neil '17
Everyone has a story. While human experiences are accompanied with feelings of sadness, hopefulness, motivation, or worthlessness are universal, these cycles of feelings are not always visible. I think it is safe to say that you cannot know everything that makes a person tick just by looking at them. This is especially true as a student at Mount Holyoke College. Our campus is so diverse. While it is human nature to make assumptions about others, I know that I have constantly been shocked when my preconceived notions have been proven incorrect. Everyone is so multi-faceted, and that is probably my favorite aspect of being a student here. Being surrounded by so many interesting people constantly amazes and motivates me.
By Emma Podolsky '18
Exactly one year after the trans-inclusive admissions policy was announced, I found myself screaming at convocation once again, although for different reasons this time. As one of the speakers continuously referred to the student populous in the crowd as every permutation of “bright Mount Holyoke women,” I yelled out “NOT EVERYONE WHO GOES TO MOUNT HOLYOKE IS A WOMAN”.
By Emma Podolsky
Last night after a long phone call with my mother -- half of which was spent trying to explain how I identify, the other half spent ugly-crying -- I walked back to my room from the green and, the minute I got into bed, just knew I had to write. Write about my experience with non-binary identity, with coming out, with how it affects my educational trajectory, with reconciling all this in a women’s space.