It’s important to LGBTQ students – living on and off campus – to have access to housing they feel comfortable and safe in.
Gender inclusive housing not only recognizes gender identities outside of the binary. It also gives students the option to live in a residence hall with other students, regardless of the students’ gender identity or gender expression.
Examples of LGBTQ inclusive housing include themed floors and living/learning communities. They can be seen at several institutions throughout the country. Here in North Carolina, you’ll find them at Davidson College, Duke University, Elon University, Guilford College, Wake Forest University and Warren Wilson College. All of these institutions offer inclusive options.
Check out this extensive list of colleges/universities around the country with gender inclusive housing: https://www.campuspride.org/tpc/gender-inclusive-housing/.
What policies are important?
It is extremely important that students and young LGBTQ individuals are aware of their rights and current policies and practices that can impact them both on and off campus. If students elect to reside off campus, get to know and understand the Fair Housing Act – it can aid you in your housing search.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fair Housing Act works to “protect people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities.” Furthermore, the “Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, and disability.”
For students choosing to live on campus the same sentiments apply. Know your rights as a student and understand the current policies at your educational institution.
As of June 6, 2021, H.R. 4286, the Fair and Equal Housing Act pf 2021 was introduced to Congress as a means to “extend to protections of the Fair Housing Act to persons suffering discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual orientation, and for other purposes.”
Campus Prides #ReportIt encourages students to #ReportIt when they witness or experience discrimination at their college or university. By completing the form, Campus Pride can gather data to improve our work and provide assistance to LGBTQ students who wish to file complaints with the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education. For more information, go to campuspride.org/reportit.
If you’re at a school that doesn’t already have an LGBTQ-welcoming environment, the best place for a student seeking to create that on campus is with peers, staff and faculty. Your voice matters. Your safety matters. The blueprint exists and examples of LGBTQ friendly housing flourishing and benefiting students is already there. Let your voice be heard and contact your school’s Office of Housing and Residence life or Student Affairs.
Read more about improving campus housing for LGBTQ students at campuspride.org/resources/8stepstoimprovestudenthousing/.