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Editorial: OU should do more to expand gender-neutral housing options

Ohio University’s gender-neutral housing program and LGBT housing program are positive steps, but the university could do more.

Between Ohio University’s gender-neutral housing program and LGBT housing program, 30 spots are available for interested students.

Though most students are granted availability for such housing, according to an article in today’s Post, it certainly would seem to us that there aren’t enough spots for students who identify outside of the gender binary or as LGBT.

Despite the fact that not all students who identify as LGBT feel unsafe in gender-segregated housing, it’d seem appropriate that OU move more toward allowing dorms to provide gender-neutral housing, as long as it provides entire dorms devoted to women (Voigt), or dorms devoted to students from a certain college (Read and Johnson for Honors Tutorial College students.)

Especially because it’s not necessary to identify as LGBT or outside of the gender binary to live in gender-neutral housing, promising more than a floor in Smith House would mean more students would have the opportunity to live with other like-minded students, or people with shared experiences. An equally valuable option would be to allow neutral housing across all dormitories at the student’s request, creating a more inclusive environment across campus.

Additionally, gender-inclusive housing allows couples — regardless of sex or gender — to live with one another.

Many public universities have expanded their gender-neutral or LGBT housing programs to focus both on fostering “safe spaces” and ensuring students are able to live wherever they want with whomever they choose.

For example, Georgia State University allows gender-inclusive housing in every residence hall on campus. According to its website, “GIH is a housing option in which two or more students share a multiple occupancy apartment or suite regardless of students’ sex, gender identity or gender expression.”

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An option like GSU’s allows for more inclusive housing across campus and doesn’t limit students to a number of available spots or to a particular residential hall. Though OU certainly is taking positive strides toward more comfortable housing for LGBT-identifying students, it should consider expanding the number of beds available.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: Editor-in-Chief Emma Ockerman, Managing Editor Rebekah Barnes and Digital Managing Editor Samuel Howard. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage.

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