This past Saturday, the trustees of Smith College voted to admit transgender women to the college. We applaud this decision: honoring self-identification is an important political statement that, we believe, will foster greater freedom and expression for all. We hope that this change can be helped and facilitated with the aid of contemplative practices, and we look forward to working with Smith and other institutions as they make these changes.
Contemplative practices foster deep and powerful means for an exploration of our interiority and identity. Such open inquiry can challenge convention, yet the politics surrounding identity can stifle and contort true exploration and discovery. Powerful questioning and expression of identity deserves and requires supportive environments; colleges and universities are rich environments to support this process. The more that institutions such as Smith (and others which have already adopted policies to admit transgender women, such as Mt. Holyoke College, Mills College, Simmons College, Bryn Mawr College, and Wellesley College) can work towards being trusting environments which truly support deep inquiry into, and diverse expressions of, our identities, purpose, meaning, and full potential, the more we all benefit.