What does the National Student Genderblind Campaign do?
We work with college students, administrators, staff, LGBT organizations, and human rights groups to ensure that college policies and practices are inclusive of all students.
Why does this matter to me?
Because this affects everyone. Gay, straight, trans—whatever your identity or orientation may be—this is about all of us. University mandated segregation is a gross and arbitrary infringement to our right as students—and our license as adults—to self-determination. Moreover, campus policies that force men to live with men and women with women are antiquated relics of an outdated past—a time when all students were assumed to be straight, transgender and queer identities were brushed aside, and friendships between men and women were less common. Today, as colleges and universities work to embrace diversity, justice, and equality as principles to live by, we ought to hold them accountable. Joining together to reveal and challenge the discriminatory nature of traditional policies, we can make our campuses more inclusive for generations to come.
Why are policies that require men to live with men and women to live with women inherently exclusive and discriminatory?
- They marginalize gay, lesbian, bisexual, and students of various sexual orientations who feel comfortable, or more comfortable, rooming with someone of the opposite sex/gender.
- They alienate transgender, genderqueer, and intersexed students who are forced into uncomfortable, dangerous rooming situations based on birth sex rather than gender identification.
- They assume that men and women can never, and will never, live together non-sexually given the choice to do so.
What is the solution?
We advocate for gender-neutral policy.
What are the objections?
Some people claim that gender-neutral housing may result in an increase in straight couples rooming together, promiscuity, and a potential for violence. Through talking with campus administrators who have enacted gender-neutral policies, these fears simply do not materialize. While fully inclusive gender-neutral policy does allow straight couples the option to room together, we have found that very few couples choose to do so. Notably, gay and lesbian couples are allowed to room together under conventional policies, but few opt to do so; there is simply no reason to assume that heterosexual couples would be more likely to room with one another. Moreover, of the colleges we have surveyed, college administrators with gender-neutral housing report that only about 2-3 percent of all students decide to select a roommate of a different sex. We believe that the concern about the possibility of increased violence fails to take into account the reality of both the current situation and our proposed solution. This view is often based on the assumption that sexual violence only occurs towards women, from men; it does not recognize the fact that men can take advantage of other men and that women can take advantage of other women, or that women can take advantage of men. Conventional policy brushes aside these facts and does little to ensure safety.
Where is the movement happening?
The movement to bring more equitable gender identity policies and practices to colleges is happening on campuses across the country. Just take a look at our research file and see what colleges are doing. Colleges from the Midwest to the Northeast to the South and West Coast are all working on these issues. Large research institutions like University of Pennsylvania to small liberal arts colleges like Swarthmore College have established gender-neutral housing options. Simply put, this movement now transcends all geographic, social, and political boundaries.