The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 21

Traditionally Heterogendered Institutions and Campus Housing

As staff members seek to engage
their own development on
LGBTQ+ identities and support,
their commitment to this
community must extend beyond
cursory support and challenge
discriminatory and normative
housing practices.

board, but for me it was getting to help people
pretty much every single day. And doing
something for somebody every single day was
an awesome experience. It was exhausting
and horrible sometimes, but being constantly
surrounded by other [staff members] helping
others was just an awesome experience.
Both Vicki and Amanda's narratives illustrated
how university housing staff affirmed and supported their residential experiences, but not
all participants shared positive experiences
with housing staff. Many participants' narratives aligned with previous findings of hostility, disrespect, and overall lack of care toward
LGBTQ+ residents (Evans & Broido, 1999;
Nicolazzo, 2018; Pryor et al., 2016). Dustin's
housing experiences were both isolating and
uncomfortable:
[Housing staff] tried to skate around saying
they couldn't [house me based on my gender
identity] because they didn't want a lawsuit
by putting me in a men's dorm. So, they stuck
me on the edge of campus in the women's
college away from everybody. I had literally
a thirty-five to forty-minute walk to class and

I got really pissed off and told them I was
leaving.
Dustin's challenge illustrates how practitioners must critically consider the impact their
choices have on students' sense of belonging
and overall well-being. Staff support of student
identity does not necessarily indicate staff understanding of how to best support students
experiencing a personal transition or navigating the coming out process. As staff members
seek to engage their own development on
LGBTQ+ identities and support, their commitment to this community must extend beyond
cursory support and challenge discriminatory and normative housing practices. What
would Dustin's experience have looked like if
staff made an exception and he was allowed
to live on the men's floor? If Dustin were "the
only" trans person on campus, how could staff
support him in identifying resources and other
sources of support? How might having a trans
person on housing staff have been able to
provide support or serve as a possibility model?
These questions are critical for practitioners,
particularly at campuses without existing policies, to consider how they might center the
experience of students like Dustin. Reframing
staff relationships requires more than considering how staff members support students;
it also reflects how the institution chooses to
create room for staff members who can relate,
mentor, and uplift students in their individual
journeys.

Reframing Institutional
and Policy Barriers
Despite some supportive experiences among
peers and staff, explicit barriers were present
within participants' overall experiences in

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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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