It’s not something you usually think about. “Girls” live with “girls,” and “guys” live with “guys.” It has always been that way and we assume it always will be that way. But maybe it’s time to reconsider.
Based on the assumption that all students are heterosexual and non-transgender, traditional housing policies forbid different-sex roommate pairs, and have long continued without challenge.
Today, students at Guilford College, Brown University, Clark University, University of California—Riverside, Harvard University and dozens of other schools across the nation are leading a movement to establish more inclusive (“genderblind”) campus housing policies.
Why is gender-neutral rooming necessary?
It’s about inclusiveness, safety, and comfort. Gay students would have the option of rooming with someone of the opposite sex if this makes them feel more comfortable. Transgender students would never be forced to room with someone of the opposite gender. Intersex students would not have to be defined by an arbitrary sexual designation. Two friends, male and female, would be trusted to be roommates in the same way that two female or two male friends currently can.
Genderblind policy is essential to all communities in that it provides options for students who have been marginalized by the current system, lost in a policy that assumes that the only students worth caring about are those who are straight and identify with the gender that society expects. We need to change this, and open up our dorms to people of any sexual orientation or gender identity.
Founded in 2006, the National Student Genderblnd Campaign works with college students, student groups, and administrators in developing, advocating for, and implementing gender-neutral campus policies. The work of the campaign is partially funded through an annual grant by Campus Pride.
Learn more by visiting the National Student Genderblind Campaign.