The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 99

Experiences of LGBTQ+ Housing Professionals

How people choose to identify
themselves matters (Butler, 1993;
Chan, 1989; Larkey, Hecht, & Martin,
1993; Panfil, 2019; Stein, 2012).

Inclusion of Live-in Partners
A theme expressed around live-in partners involved how recruiting teams, search committees, and housing websites should be explicit
in offering these benefits. Leigh mentioned
how appreciative they were of a job process
where live-in partner and spousal benefits
were listed up front:
When I was looking at the job at [institution
in the South], the director presented all of the
benefits, including the benefits about partner
policies. I didn't have to go through hoops to
find out about that. I didn't have to ask about
it. It was presented and given so that I didn't
have to out myself in any way. I think that's
really helpful. On the reverse, when schools
don't share that, that's really telling also.
Some professionals like Cate (she/her),
a mid-level professional in Missouri, experienced differential treatment on the job for
having a same-gender partner, while her heterosexual colleagues did not experience the
same level of questioning or documentation:
While [institution in the Midwest] had
domestic partner benefits, one of those
benefits did not include partners living in
campus housing. My partner lives with me
in campus housing, and they told me they
would fire me, and I said, "Okay, I'll wait,"
and they didn't fire me. I decided to challenge

them through their antidiscrimination judicial
board process. I resigned from that position.
They would say things like, "I'm not going
to come into your apartment and count
toothbrushes, but you need to stop saying
that she lives there. Maybe we'll have to have
her sign something or be part of the lease."
They didn't know how to handle it. So, I said,
"Well, but the previous person... she and her
husband lived here..."
Cate held her ground in this situation, refusing
to succumb to the pressure of the administration. She hoped the department of residence
life could have advocated further for her and
her partner, but this situation ultimately left
Cate jobless, as pressures mounted to create an
untenable environment in which to be a fully
productive housing professional.
The inclusion of partners, both in written
invitations to campus events as well as everyday discussions, spoke volumes for LGBTQ+
professionals who wondered if their families
would be included or excluded in their residential environment. November (she/her), an
entry-level professional working in Indiana,
shared how her housing and residence life
colleagues simply refused to acknowledge her
wife:
I would have coworkers who would refuse to
refer to my wife with the terms wife, partner,
spouse, or significant other. Yes, there's some
circles where, you know, maybe somebody
prefers that term, but when I have specifically
introduced someone to you as my wife, and
then you refuse to use that term, that feels
like a bit of a dig.
November expressed disappointment with her
department colleagues who did not respect her
use of specific terms in describing her wife.

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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
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - Cover1
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