Gender-neutral dorms don’t promote heterosexual cohabitation

There’s a new gender-neutral housing policy at my alma mater, Ohio University. Of course, the immediate opposition for some is that heterosexual couples will take advantage of gender-neutral housing and try to live with their significant others. Not only does this argument miss the main purpose of gender-neutral housing, but it also shows some ignorance about college life at public universities.

By the latter, I mean this: Heterosexual couples shack up all the time. They stay at each other’s places, they sexile their roommates, and they even could choose to live together off-campus when the time arises. If you think that gender-neutral housing is going to be what causes an epidemic of pre-marital sex and unplanned pregnancies, then you probably haven’t attended a public university recently.

But does it promote or advocate these things? Also, no. These policies discourage couples from living together, and honestly, most couples probably wouldn’t want to live together anyway — and the opportunity already exists once you’re eligible to live off-campus. How many unmarried couples did I know who lived together off-campus (and we’re talking planned it as they were a couple, not lived together and became a couple)? Zero. That’s because in college, people usually want to live with their friends, not significant others.

The people who would likely sign-up for gender-neutral housing would be LGBT people whose sexuality/gender identity doesn’t necessarily jive with the same-sex set-up that dorms typically have. Aaron Teskey, an alum of George Washington University, praised his alma mater for its new gender-neutral housing policy and shared some personal insight:

Like many queer students, I finally came out to my friends and family while at college. It was definitely a process though, and while at school students should be focused on learning, not worried about potential harassment or feel forced to hide their sexuality or gender identity from their roommates.

Teskey’s point identifies the core reason gender-neutral housing is necessary — because there is a very real danger of harassment with the forced same-sex living arrangements. You risk living with someone intolerant or homophobic, and for transgender people the level of intolerance is much worse. Students need to feel safe and comfortable in their living environment, and a gender-neutral living option can provide that.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Gender-neutral dorms don’t promote heterosexual cohabitation”

  1. Unimaginable Back in the Day: Gender-Neutral Dorms « Kittywampus Says:

    […] One of my outstanding former students, who blogs at I Hamburger, punctures the myth that opposite-se…: How many unmarried couples did I know who lived together off-campus (and we’re talking planned it as they were a couple, not lived together and became a couple)? Zero. That’s because in college, people usually want to live with their friends, not significant others. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: