Opinion: Gender neutral housing should be promoted

Opinion: Gender neutral housing should be promoted

Cory Spiers

Gender neutral housing, an on-campus housing option that allows students to form roommate selections without regard to legally-assigned sex, is being incorporated by universities as a way to create a safer environment for students, especially those who identify as LGBTQ, according to The National Student Genderblind Campaign.

However, the UNC Board of Governors unanimously voted to ban gender neutral housing Aug. 9, according to WRAL.

In spite of its principled purpose, a recent report from the advocacy group Campus Pride found that a mere 6 percent of four-year universities in the United States provide gender neutral housing.

Traditional on-campus housing options do not meet the needs of all students.

To potentially address those needs, an innovative RLC called ASUnity, which is focused on social justice issues, is now being offered by Appalachian State University and provides an option for the LGBTQ community and their allies. While it would not provide gender neutral living options, which is not the RLC’s main objective, the community would provide a safe space for students.

While some LGBTQ members may be more comfortable residing with a student of the opposite gender, I believe most would benefit from having the option of gender neutral housing.

Last year, the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill approved an act that would allow students of any gender to cohabitate in a suite style room, or an on-campus apartment.

This decision to ban gender neutral housing is in effect as of this fall semester for all colleges in the UNC system.
Many students are dissatisfied with policies regarding gender neutral housing, including Parker Smith, a senior anthropology major and a gender member of the club Transaction.

“[University policies] force trans people to house with [those that] don’t share the same gender identity…,” Smith said. “[As a result], this ‘outs’ many members of the community, which can be very dangerous and lead to harassment, or worse.”

Despite the efforts put forth nationally by students and human rights organizations, many universities have remained unresponsive.

“I would say that [the ban by the Board of Governors] will hold indefinitely,” Smith said. “They have repeatedly ignored the protests of students, and I have no reason to suspect they will start listening to us.”

Opinion: NAULA NDUGGA, Opinion writer