Not Your Mother’s, or Father’s Dorm Room

Boston University recently became the latest college to offer gender neutral housing, continuing the progress seen both here in the Commonwealth as well as nationwide, as institutions of higher education provide more inclusive rooming options for all students.

“Too often,” Genny Beemyn, director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst tells the Advocate, “trans students are forced to live in a situation where they do not feel welcomed or where they are at risk for harassment and violence.”

But, adds Beemyn, “As more students have come out openly as trans, more colleges have recognized the importance of this housing option.”

The University Council at BU made the recommendation for gender neutral housing after its student government penned the proposal, BU Today reports. University president Robert A. Brown then signed the policy, adding BU to a long list of Massachusetts colleges that already offer gender-inclusive housing, including Harvard University, Northeastern University and Clark University, as well as several schools here in the Valley.

According to CampusPride.org, an organization advocating for safer university environments for LGBT students, at least 120 colleges have added gender inclusive housing to their rooming options in the past decade alone. These include both Hampshire College and Amherst College, here in the Valley, as well as the Nutmeg State’s University of Connecticut and Wesleyan University. Bennington College in Vermont is on the list as well.

“[Mount Holyoke College] and Smith are trickier as women’s colleges,” continues Beemyn. “From a legal perspective, all of their students are/have been female, so students who identify as trans or as men do not face restrictions on living with self-identified women.”

(Originally appeared in the Valley Advocate.)

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