The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 20

Jonathan T. Pryor, Garrett D. Hoffman

tervention or structural reform, Vicki's challenge calls on practitioners to thoughtfully
consider how they approach their role in creating affirming and inclusive environments that
reduce harassment. The THI asks practitioners
to question their role in centering LGBTQ+
experiences and how LGBTQ+ issues are
woven into their engagement with prospective
and current students. How do the gendered
structures inherent in college and university
housing center the needs of trans students?
How can practitioners shift their framework to
place the needs of the most vulnerable populations at the forefront of our policies and practices? When institutions communicate their
college and university housing opportunities,
explicit communication targeted to future
LGBTQ+ residents may provide visibility and a
sense of inclusion not otherwise experienced.
Instead of suggesting gender-neutral housing
benefits all students, campuses should convey
explicitly how the institution supports trans
and LGBQ+ students during their campus and
college and university housing experience.

Reframing Relationships
with Staff
Relationships with staff, particularly with out
or LGBTQ+ affirming staff, are an important part of LGBTQ+ students' experiences
in college and university housing (Evans &
Broido, 1999, 2002; Kortegast, 2017). Participants' relationships with staff members varied
depending on institutional experiences. Many
participants reported both challenging and affirming interactions that provide important
considerations for practitioners. Some staff
interactions were particularly salient for participants as they navigated coming out to their
peers or staff in the residence halls. Amanda,
20

a White, lesbian, transgender woman, spoke of
the positive interactions she had with her RA:
I came out to one of the RAs because she
was the nicest RA that I met, one of the two.
She started telling me about one of the trans
people that she had met. She wasn't exactly
friends with the trans person, but she had
said, oh yeah, I know this trans person.
Maybe through mutual friendship you guys
can meet or something.
This social support from the RA demonstrates
how staff relationships can serve to support
LGBTQ+ students in navigating residential life
(Evans & Broido, 1999; Kortegast, 2017). As
transgender students have been found to experience additional isolation from college and
university housing spaces (Pryor et al., 2016),
training staff on compassionate practices and
informing them of university resources is necessary in providing the support from which
Amanda benefited. However, campuses must
look beyond training. A supportive network
also requires institutions to consider intentional hiring practices of LGBTQ+ identified
staff members.
This affirming support demonstrates the
opportunities college and university housing
can provide students on their path to success.
Vicki communicated similar sentiments
of support, particularly noting the value of
working alongside staff and giving back to her
campus community. As an RA, she became
more engaged and connected to her peers, establishing a stronger sense of belonging within
her residential community:
I think becoming close to the staff and getting
the opportunity [to be an RA], which was
[the] coolest for me, to volunteer every single
day. I know that we are getting free room and

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



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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