University of Kansas has opened a dorm devoted to LGBT students
The University of Kansas has dedicated a section of student dorms specifically for LGBT students.
Lewis Hall now has rooms devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, gender fluid and questioning students as part of its gender-inclusive housing initiative.
This means that roommates will be assigned to rooms without consideration of their gender or sexual identity.
The step is one that the university hopes will create a safer space for LGBT students who fear they may face discrimination.
The halls are of course optional, but there is already a waiting list for the rooms in the wing.
Diana Robertson, the student housing director for the University said the waiting list proved that they are “hitting a need”.
She explained that there was “no questions asked” about students actual sexual or gender identity and that allies of the LGBT community may also be welcomed to the rooms in the future.
However, residents will be required to sign an agreement regarding their behaviour towards their fellow residents.
It also has a privacy clause to protect students.
If the agreement is breached then they will likely be required to move.
Vanessa Delgado, who runs the university’s centre for sexual and gender identity, explained that the dorms will be particularly helpful to gender non-binary students who would otherwise be forced into female or male dorms with little recognition of their identity.
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Delgado said: “There’s either men’s halls or women’s halls, men’s rooms or women’s rooms and there’s a lot of students that don’t fit into those binary categories.
“It’s obviously a need, it’s obviously something students want,” they added.
The University will also be working with individuals who wish to stay in dorms that correspond with their gender identity if they are trans.
The news is being positively welcomed by students across the campus.
One person said: “I think it’s a very positive step forward. Especially with the day and age, we are in with the political climate of the country.”
“It’s nice that people are finally getting included,” another added.