The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 63

The Impact of the Gender Binary in Campus Housing

trans youth, hindering their access to higher
education.

Trans Collegians in
Residential Environments
Nascent literature focused on trans students in
university housing remains sparse. Kortegast's
(2017) study included trans and genderqueer
students among participants. Students in this
study explained the difficulty receiving proper
housing assignments and accommodations
and a general lack of awareness and interest
in supporting trans students among housing
staff. More trans-focused studies like Pryor et
al. (2016) included interview analyses of 12
trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) students about their campus experiences. These
students described challenges in being able
to express their gender freely and safely on

As such, students who do not
fit normative gender ideals (e.g.,
trans students, students who dress
differently from their perceived
gender, students who present
androgynously or ambiguously,
effeminate male-presenting students
or masculine female-presenting
students) find themselves excluded,
marginalized, and challenged even
in supposedly trans-affirmative

campus; challenges in developing strategies to
preserve and thrive in the face of oppression;
institutional indifference; and genderism.
Some participants felt included and welcomed
in their residence halls, many did not. Similarly, some of Nicolazzo's (2017) participants
found that leaving campus housing was their
best (although imperfect) strategy for maintaining their energy and strength and for resisting the oppressive gender binary culture of
residence halls.
Nicolazzo and Marine (2015) examined
how one HRL department's expressed trans
inclusive resident assistant (RA) policies were
not implemented for a transitioning student.
In this case, the housing department allowed
RA applicants to indicate gender identity
rather than sex, and housing staff assured
a transmasculine applicant that he would
be placed according to his gender identity,
not sex. However, during the RA selection
process, university officials decided to house
the student with women and used his legal
but no-longer-used name in a placement letter,
"erasing his identity as transmasculine" (Nicolazzo & Marine, 2015, p. 165). The student
filed but lost a discrimination suit, declined
the position, and moved off campus. Like
that example, Nicolazzo, Marine, and Wagner
(2018) found that trans students on campuses
with gender-inclusive housing (GIH) options
reported challenges and problems with the implementation of GIH policies. Their research
findings suggested that, at least at some universities, "gender-inclusive policies acted as
ends unto themselves" (Nicolazzo et al., 2018,
p. 233) rather than as thoughtful, intentional
measures for trans collegians.

areas.
V O L U M E 4 6 , NO. 3 * 2 0 2 0

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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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