A growing number of colleges and universities throughout the country are offering gender-neutral housing, giving students the option of a compatible roommate over a stranger. Only a few decades ago, institutions thought it inappropriate for male and female students to socialize in (or even enter) single gender dorm buildings. The later introduction of co-ed housing prompted a few editorials as campus living situation began to mix. But now, as the more students seek colleges and university that respect and protect LGBT expression and identity, the need for gender-neutral housing has increased.
"Today's college students, gay or straight, are more likely to have
close friends of a different gender and this housing option is simply
the next step in the evolution of college housing," says Jeffrey Chang, co-founder and associate director of National Student Genderblind Campaign.
National Student Genderblind Campaign (NSGC), co-founded by Chang and David Norton in the summer of 2006, is an initiative designed to promote gender equality on college and university campuses throughout the country. NSGC advocates for the implementation of gender-inclusive dorm room and bathroom options.
"Gender-neutral housing provides safe and inclusive options for gay, lesbian, and transgender college students who may feel uncomfortable or even unsafe being unable to select a roommate of a different sex," says Chang.
According to NSGC's 2007 study and independent research, the following colleges and universities have sided with comfort over tradition by offering gender neutral rooming. Housing policies change frequently, so it's best to contact the university's housing department to inquire about options and requirements for gender neutral housing.
California Institute of Technology
Carnegie Mellon University
The Evergreen State College
Green Mountain College
Harvard University (only offered to students who identify as transgender)
Humboldt State University
Lewis & Clark College
San Diego State University
Sarah Lawrence College
Southern Oregon University
University of California-Riverside
University of Chicago
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern Maine
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