The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 66

J. Michael Denton, Leia K. Cain

rapport building and provided time for reflection (Grinyer & Thomas, 2012).

Data Analysis
In narrative inquiry, analysis refers both to the
story construction and identification of themes
(Barone, 2007; Josselson, 2011). We formed
narratives based on participants' transcripts.
We used member checking of the narratives
as part of our ethical commitment that participants see themselves reflected accurately
(Schwandt, 2007). For this study, we analyzed
Taylor's and Ishmael's narratives for parallel
and divergent themes related to residence hall
living. As with much qualitative research, our
intent is not to generalize but rather to convey
useful findings for others (Jones, Torres, &
Arminio, 2014).

PARTICIPANT NARRATIVES
We present excerpts from Taylor's and Ishmael's narratives relative to their experiences in
university housing during their first year. Research on students' first year of college speaks
to the importance of supportive and inclusive
living environments to students' well-being,
retention, and success (Upcraft, Gardner, &
Barefoot, 2005). Although these are only two
individuals' stories, these narratives illustrate
the possibilities and frustrations trans students
may experience in campus housing at any
year. Ishmael and Taylor both started testosterone for gender transitioning their first year,
which is discussed in their narratives. Even in
summary sections, our word choice reflects the
words participants used in their interviews.

Ishmael
Ishmael is a sophomore biology major heavily
involved in martial arts as a black belt. He

66

Placing trans students with
cisgender students without planning
and intentionality can be oppressive
to trans students.

aspires to be a medical researcher. He enjoys
manga, comics, and drawing.
Ishmael ran into issues with his institution's housing office at the application stage
when he was an entering first-year student.
The housing application had three gender
options: male, female, and transgender. He
was frustrated:
Transgender is not a gender. If I select
"transgender" then all you're going to see
is what it says on my ID and the word
"transgender," so that doesn't tell you if I am
male to female, or female to male. It doesn't
tell you where I would like to be roomed. So
that's not something I would have selected.
Ishmael's mother suggested that he select
"transgender," convinced it would be the best
option for getting support from HRL staff
and would prompt them to ask him about his
gender for assignment. He decided to call the
housing office where he was eventually forwarded to the director. He followed up with an
email to the director explaining the problem
with the choices and asking what he should
mark on the application. Ishmael never received a response and selected "transgender"
on his application.
Problems became clear when the orientation office called Ishmael, noting the selection
and making sure he approved them assigning
him with women. Despite expressing his dis-

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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