The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 103

Experiences of LGBTQ+ Housing Professionals

LGBTQ+ professionals may not come out
during the interview process, and departments
can sometimes forget that. A bias of assumed
heterosexuality can occur if candidates don't

While some institutional
departments may lack LGBTQ+
visibility and diversity as a strength,
participants in this study felt that
the field of housing and residence
life tended to attract more LGBTQ+
professionals, positioning their
departments as potential leaders for
LGBTQ+ inclusion across institutions
at large.

come out during the interview process. For
housing and residence life professionals identifying as bisexual or pansexual, they expressed
feeling anxiety around sharing the gender pronouns of their partners because they might be
perceived inaccurately as straight and subsequently assumed to not be diverse candidates.
Therefore, departments should remind interview teams to avoid such potential biases. That
is, that just because candidates mention the
gender pronouns of partners or don't explicitly
come out, that does not necessarily mean they
should be perceived as straight.
Terms matter, and they are subject to
change. For some, being referred to with the

general acronym of LGBTQ+ can be seen as
diluting and not fully comprehensive. Some
professionals favor specific identity terms such
as bisexual, pansexual, queer, nonbinary, or
asexual. How employees refer to their loved
ones may also shift from one year to the next,
including terms such as significant other,
partner, spouse, wife, or husband. Recognizing how people refer to their loved ones helps
them feel their relationships are validated and
their loved ones are welcomed.
Pronouns may change as people continue
to uncover and explore their emerging identities. LGBTQ+ professionals may use they/
them or additional genderless pronouns, or
they may use their name in place of any gender
pronouns. These professionals also recognize
the difficult reality that while their colleagues
should honor their pronouns, they recognize
the inevitability of mistakenly being misgendered. As workplaces have evolved their
language to recognize professionals across
emerging racial and ethnic categories, the findings also support ongoing research literature
acknowledging the fluidity of pronouns and
identity terms related to gender and sexuality
categories. Departments should be clear about
how their employees can engage in constructive conversations when employees are misgendered or mislabeled.
LGBTQ+ professionals in housing and
residence life continue to receive written and
verbal threats, especially in student conduct
settings. Therefore, departments should be explicit about how they address such situations
as well as acknowledging the impacts of staff
in both the short and long term. Mechanisms
may include human resources, campus grievance systems, employee assistance programs,
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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - Intro
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