Students call for LGBT-only accommodation at universities
Students across the UK are campaigning to have LGBT-only accommodation, away from straight classmates.
One establishment which offers an “LGBT housing option” is Birmingham University.
First year students are allowed the option which means they are not housed with straight students.
But students across the UK are campaigning to have the same option.
Upcoming guidance from the National Union of Students’ LGBT Campaign, will highlight discrimination against LGBT students in halls of residence.
The NUS LGBT campaign’s guidance will point to case studies in US colleges, where LGBT-only dorms are already commonplace, reports the Times.
Students at the University of York and at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston are calling for flats in existing halls of residence to be allocated on an LGBT-only basis.
The move comes as universities, colleges and schools in the UK are beginning to introduce gender-neutral toilets.
A leading private school in the UK this January made a change to its uniform policy in order to make trans students feel more welcome.
Students argue that the LGBT-only policy simply reflects the option of single-gender flats in halls of residence, a long-established practice of allocating rooms for undergraduates.
But Sana Iqbal, the chairwoman of the Students’ Council at the University of Central Lancashire said it would be better to raise awareness of LGBT issues.
“Let’s not make LGBT students more isolated into smaller groups and build more barriers,” she said.
Meanwhile in the US, a battle is being waged over transgender toilet use.
North Carolina and Mississippi have introduced bills banning trans people from using gender-appropriate bathrooms.
The Obama administration earlier this week issued guidance that trans students should be allowed to use the bathroom that fits their gender identity, suggesting states could lose federal funding if they do not comply.
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North Carolina was sued by the federal government last week, and countersued.
The state’s Governor Pat McCrory has continually defended HB2, saying the federal government should not be interfering.
The letter of guidance sent from the Obama administration earlier in the week, says schools should allow students to use a bathroom consistent with their gender identity.
According to the letter, in order to receive federal funds, “a school may provide separate facilities on the basis of sex, but must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity.”
The letter went on to clarify that while schools could provide single-use bathrooms to provide extra privacy, it could not segregate students to insist that trans students use only the single use facilities.
The letter also quotes Title IX, saying that students should not be required to provide medical proof to a school, or documentation reflecting change of gender.
North Carolina Governor McCrory accused President Obama of throwing away “generations of gender etiquette and privacy norms… which parents, children and employees have expected in the most personal and private settings of their everyday lives.”