Win For Transgender Students In DormsJuly 8, 2011 No Comments
Some people are transgender and that’s not going to change, so perhaps the times will have to change with them.
Starting this week transgender students at the University of South Florida (USF) will be given the choice of living alone, with a friend (of any gender) or with a roommate randomly assigned by the university.
Students living on campus will have the option of identifying as “male,” “female” or “transitioning”; meaning, for instance, that a person born male but living as female will have the freedom to room with another woman or in the male dorms. The new rules also ensure that a person’s identity as transgender won’t be disclosed to their roomies, or anyone else, without their consent.
What’s more, soon to come at USF are gender-neutral dorms for students who want to live with people of a gender different to their own. Harvard, too, offers gender-neutral housing for any transgender people who desire it, and the model seems to be a raging success.
Unfortunately however, when the news broke about USF’s decision, the majority of the comments received on mainstream websites and blogs were negative.
“Political correctness running amok,” “This is America, they should conform to OUR way of life, not us to theirs,” and “Gender isn’t something that’s up for discussion,” they said.
But the situation obviously isn’t that straightforward.
For years transgender students have followed “our” (not a collective I would like to be included in) rules, and roomed where they were told, and as a result were often bullied and harassed by cruel classmates. After all, says USF Transgender Union president Taylor McCue, this discrimination was what lead the group to lobby for alternative housing arrangements in the first place.
How could these groundbreaking developments be hurting anyone? If you wish to remain in a single-sex dorm, then do so.
A decision to allow people freedom of choice and expression, and the right to a comfortable living situation, is surely something to be proud of, not demonized.
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