I have mixed feelings about this particular issue.
First, I should confess that I would love to be attending a women’s college right now; had I been legally female during my college application process, Barnard likely would have been my first choice. I feel a great deal safer and more comfortable around women, and though I do like my university, I am regularly dismissed and talked over by men in my courses here. Being able to learn and grow without being subject to that treatment in an environment where male violence is less of a concern would be wonderful.
However, I am inclined to agree with women who argue that women’s colleges should remain female only spaces. A typical college applicant is 17 or 18 years old, and this means that if they are transsexual, they are unlikely to be very far into transition. Trans women are subject to the process of male socialization, and this is likely to affect our behavior in a particularly strong way when we are early in transition and not passing. I do not think that the students of Smith or Wellesley should be forced to deal with the type of condescension and subjugation that I mentioned experiencing in order to spare the feelings of young transsexual college applicants.
It is tricky, because there are obviously plenty of trans women who do not engage in typical male oppressive behaviors (myself included, I hope). I do think, though, that the policy employed by most women’s colleges of accepting only trans women who are legally female is probably for the best.