The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 33

Exploring LGBTQ+ Students' Awareness of Housing and Antidiscrimination Policies Across Institutional Type

ments influences human development. Bronfenbrenner (1993) suggests that individuals
engage with five different contextual layers
- microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems,
macrosystems, chronosystems - moving
from immediate contexts (proximal) to societal contexts (distal). Together, these different
systems join into a "system of nested, interdependent, dynamic structures" (Brofenbrenner, 1993, p. 4).
Renn and Arnold (2003) translated each
contextual layer into postsecondary environments. Microsystems include "pattern of
activities, roles, and interpersonal relations experienced by the developing person in a given
face-to-face setting" (Bronfenbrenner, 1993,
p. 15). For college students, Renn and Arnold
(2003) suggested examples of microsystems
may be friends, roommates, or student organizations. Mesosystems involve connections and
"processes taking place between two or more
settings containing the developing person"
(Bronfenbrenner, 1993, p. 22). Renn and
Arnold (2003) argued that college students are
enclosed within numerous merging academic,
social, and familial systems including exosystems which do not house the person yet exert
influence on the individual's development. Examples of student exosystems include institutional policies and federal laws. Macrosystems
extend beyond micro, meso, and exosystems
to include societal values, norms, and expectations. For college students, macrosystems may
influence their understanding of social class or
gender norms. The chronosystem reflects the
"historical period through which the person
lives" (Bronfenbrenner, 1993, p. 641). In this
study, we view institutional policies within the
exosystem as inanimate realities that directly

affect students. The presence of antidiscrimination and LGBTQ+ housing policies in
the exosystem and a person's awareness of
them can affect interactions with the campus
environment. For example, if an institution
articulates and enacts a strong LGBTQ+ antidiscrimination policy (Woodford, Kulick et al.,
2018), LGBTQ+ students may receive positive
messages about their identities that could facilitate their sense of belonging and development (Woodford & Kulick, 2015). An LGBTQ+
policy, such as gender-neutral housing for
trans* students, could create supportive roommate microsystems and mesosystems across
the residence halls and other social settings
and promote students' sense of belonging on
campus (Woodford et al., 2017).
In this study, we report on students' awareness of and the availability of antidiscrimination policies specifically addressing gender
identity/expression and sexual orientation and
LGBTQ+ housing at their institutions. The
two research questions guiding this study are:
To what extent are LGBTQ+ students across
institutional type aware of sexual orientation
inclusive antidiscrimination, gender identity/
expression inclusive antidiscrimination, and
LGBTQ+ housing policies? and Across institutional type, how does the presence of these
institutional policies vary?

METHOD
We extracted data for this study from a survey
conducted as a part of the 2013 National Study
of LGBTQ+ College Student Success, a mixedmethods study that explored personal and environmental factors that enhance success and
wellbeing for LGBTQ+ students. The survey
consisted of 277 items including personal
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Contents
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