The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 71

The Impact of the Gender Binary in Campus Housing

IMPLICATIONS
HRL efforts to support trans men and other
trans students can take tangible and realistic
steps in addition to larger structural changes
that will prove more challenging. However,
recommendations for practice are insufficient, incomplete. Institutions often use small
changes to avoid addressing larger systemic
issues (Ahmed, 2012).

Recommendations for Practice
First, to support trans students, HRL offices
need explicitly trans-affirming language in
mission statements and trans-inclusive policies. This language and these policies need
consistent, congruent expression in practice
(Johnson, 2017), unlike the case Nicolazzo and
Marine (2015) reported. Policies also need to be
highly visible and accessible to trans students
(Nicolazzo et al., 2018). Ishmael's and Taylor's
experiences with their respective applications
demonstrate the need for HRL professionals to
both be clear themselves and clear on applications about the terms used, such as not conflating sex and gender. Furthermore, housing
applications should provide options beyond
transitioning and transgender, as these terms do
not encompass the totality of gender non-conforming students. For example, Ishmael and
Taylor were both unclear about the best option
to choose and left the choice up to chance
when (in Ishmael's case) HRL officials did not
respond to questions. In considering how to
best structure housing applications, HRL professionals may benefit from the perspectives of
Garvey (2017) and Rankin and Garvey (2015)
on surveys and queer identification.
If trans students receive the appropriate
assignment, they may not want or need ad-

ditional intervention or support, but HRL
professionals should consider how to better
ensure roommates will not promote gender
violence and be supportive. Likewise, HRL
staff members need training to be sensitive to
the myriad ways trans students may or may not
want support and may not want to be identified. Some trans students may not want help
because they fear that being openly "out" about
their identity could subject them to violence.
Consistent messages of safety and equity, programming, and continued assessment of initiatives are part of those steps. Ishmael, for
example, noted that his application had a scale
for students to indicate their level of acceptance for LGBTQ roommates. Although such
a measure attempts to keep LGBTQ students
safe with roommates, using this scale also
raises larger questions to consider. Those questions include, but are not limited to: What does
housing students who self-report low LGBTQ
acceptance mean for the overall climate of residence halls for LGBTQ residents and guests?
Should HRL offices ask about other kinds of acceptances (e.g., race, dis/ability), and what are
the implications for doing this only for LGBTQ
residents? Since trans and LGBQ students, like
all students, comprise multiple identities some
of which may be other target identities, how is
safety and justice ensured for the wholeness of
trans and queer residents (and subordinated
non-LGBTQ residents)?
Taylor's experience brings to light an issue
even under the best of trans-inclusive housing
situations: supporting increased trans and
queer representation in halls. Taylor had a
vision for becoming a transman because of his
roommate. While that was a positive model for
him, he also had no other examples to choose

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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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