‘A gender-neutral system…would be wonderful.’
Mary Butler | guest writer
Having opposite-gender roommates could be rather interesting.
It may be very problematic and would cause a lot of concern. Numerous kinks would definitely need to be worked out for this arrangement to work effectively.
LGBTTQIA unique needs
However, this concept could help those who hold one of the non-traditional sexual-orientation identities: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual, who constitute the LGBTTQIA community.
Members of all of these categories could have some question about who they are sexually. A gender-neutral system where this detail would not be considered on housing applications would be wonderful.
Having specific halls of men and women can make these individuals feel very left out and like they don’t belong. In truth, that’s because they don’t.
They belong on the floor of their preferred gender, but can’t live there because of the sex they were born with.
This lack of support on the part of on-campus housing has produced deadly consequences in the past.
An issue that has arisen from the current situation is the victimization of homosexual men by their male roommates.
Tyler Clementi, who was a student of Rutgers University, is a perfect example of this. In 2010, his roommate videotaped him having sex with a man and outed him on the Internet. These actions resulted in Clementi’s suicide.
Would require thought
A problem that could occur with the new policy is the risk of female students becoming rape victims at the hands of male roommates.
This is something that would call for immediate attention. Some sort of safeguard system would need to be put into place.
Perhaps a better solution than full gender-neutrality would be to ask students during the application process if they are accepting of members of the LGBTTQIA community, and match them accordingly.
A good thing that could come out of this are residence hall floors with people who all have the same major or interest. Grouping together music, art or education students could enhance their academic opportunities.
If gender-neutral housing does come to pass, it should not be forced upon freshmen and other people who are living on campus for the first time.
In general, we shouldn’t force it upon students who don’t want neutral housing.
I think a good way to implement it is to start off full neutrality in one building and institute co-ed floors in the rest.
I love the way Willard Hall is set up in that the floors have both men and women, but you room with someone of the same gender.
That could serve as a great gateway into new possibilities and options in housing for those of all preferences.
Mary Butler is Gay-Straight Alliance club president and a junior in psychology.
‘More negatives than positives’
Alyssa Marsh | guest writer
In considering whether or not Pittsburg State’s on-campus housing should be converted to be gender-neutral, several concerns come to my mind.
Personal issues an obstacle
First and foremost, sexual activity is going to be a large issue.
Many students will want to be living with their significant other, focusing their time and attention on sexual activities rather than their studies and homework.
Fights and arguments are also serious concerns that need to be heavily thought of before making this decision.
Many students that begin dating in college are not still involved in that relationship by the time they graduate.
I myself was in a relationship for four years that recently ended. It was extremely difficult handling our off-campus living situation after the breakup.
Won’t it be even more difficult for a couple who signed a housing contract that will ordinarily force them to live together on-campus, even past a breakup?
Giving young adults the opportunity to live together when there are no bills and no responsibilities involved just does not seem like a smart idea to me.
This is not to mention a variety of other issues, such as pregnancy prevention, STD’s and safe-sex practices.
To prevent gender-neutral housing from creating serious problems in these areas of concern, good practices will need to be heavily encouraged.
Surprisingly, many young adults have not been properly educated on safe sex practices, and the risks that are involved with engaging in sexual intercourse without proper protection.
I can see a large increase on the number of unintended pregnancies and STD’s on campus if gender-neutral dorms are opened up to the entire student body.
Marriage a possible exception
However, I do feel that couples who are already married, or who already have children, should be given the option to live together.
I have heard of many campuses that have marital housing, or marital dorms. This is an arrangement I could support.
Something else I am open to is the possibility of having gender-neutral dorms for students 21 years of age and older.
Other than that, I am against giving students at Pitt State gender-neutral dorm room opportunities.
I see more negatives than I do positives associated with this option.
Alyssa Marsh is SGA community affairs director and a senior in fashion merchandising and marketing.