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Offering Gender-Neutral Student Housing

Digested From “University of Minnesota to Offer Gender-Neutral Student Housing
Diverse Education (12/29/13)

The University of Minnesota will offer gender-neutral housing at its Twin Cities campus beginning in the fall of 2015. Up to several dozen students will be able to live in campus apartments with any roommate, regardless of their sex or what gender they identify with. Transgender students have been pushing for the change. In adopting this new housing policy, the University of Minnesota will join other public schools in the state along with a growing number of campuses around the nation in attempting to better accommodate transgender students. Jayce Koester, a transgender sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Morris, states that such students "can face violence, they can face accusations, they can face physical, emotional abuse coming from a roommate." Her campus plans to incorporate gender neutral housing next year, as well. Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota campus in Rochester already has gender-neutral housing.  

Transgender housing differs from co-ed housing, which allows male and female students to live in residence halls on the same floor but in separate rooms. Gender would not play a role at all in gender-neutral housing. Biological males and females will be able to share living space. While the arrangement is mainly being tailored for transgender students, non-transgender students would be permitted. All participants would have to opt in to the arrangement. According to Koester, the housing would at least initially be open to sophomores and up while the school works on settling questions about placement and opt-ins.

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