The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 67

The Impact of the Gender Binary in Campus Housing

pleasure with this, his fall housing assignment
was ultimately with women:
I really do think they looked at it and
assumed I was male to female. . . . But the
thing is: that was not a good setup. No one
ever got back to me about it. I know that
this year I went through, and my ID has still
officially not been changed, I keep meaning to
go in and do that, but . . . I need money to get
the new ID. And I need transportation to get
down there, and it hasn't happened.
Ishmael resigned himself to the assignment,
partly because his mother would not advocate
for him with HRL staff. She convinced him to
room with women, motivated from a fear for
his safety if he were living with cisgender men.
"I guess she was just afraid ... that I was going
to get raped, murdered, whatever. Which obviously is not a fear that I had, because if anyone
tries to touch me, I will take their eyes."
During his first year, Ishmael sometimes
ran into guests of his roommates staring or
seeming upset that he was there:
Every now and then I'd go into the dorm and
they have somebody else over, like some
new boyfriend or something, or their family
members, and I'd get this weird look for a
second like "Who are you? Why are you here?
I thought I was the only guy in here." I'm like,
nah, I live here, man. And that was awkward;
that I hate more than anything.
After his first semester, things went smoother for Ishmael, as the housing department
had a better system for selecting roommates
by gender for the following year. Since then,
Ishmael "only [has had] good experiences so
far" on campus.

Taylor
Taylor is a 20-year-old senior information tech-

nology major. Taylor is unsure of his future
career but dreams of a future where he does not
have to think about being trans. Taylor leads
the student trans group (STG) on campus.
The housing application presented three
options for Taylor: male, female or transitioning; he selected "transitioning:"
And at the time I was just uncomfortable with
it but didn't know where I fit. But I was, like,
'I'd rather have a queer person than just a
straight girl.' . . . And I happened to match with
another trans guy who started [testosterone] a
couple of months later.

Limiting equity and safety for
trans students in housing to a few
measures shows the problems in
not addressing structural issues,
namely the multiple identities of
queer students or the gender binary.

When Taylor initially looked up his roommate
on Facebook, the pictures were female-presenting and the account still had a woman's name
associated with it. But on move-in day:
He walks in the door and he's super-hot
and I'm like, "Wow." . . . Then he started
[testosterone] and I was like, "Okay, that's
what I'm doing," but . . . it took me a while
because I didn't have money [and] because
I still wasn't sure. I saw what he was doing,
and I was jealous of it, so it was obvious that I
was a man, and I wanted to transition.

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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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - Cover4
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