UT considers gender neutral dorms

UT considers gender neutral dorms

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Gender neutral housing would be suites or floors in the dorms on campus where men and women can live together Gender neutral housing would be suites or floors in the dorms on campus where men and women can live together

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The University of Tennessee is considering gender neutral housing. That would be suites or floors in the dorms on campus where men and women can live together.

The goal is largely to help members of the LGBT community or anyone who does not feel comfortable identifying specifically as a male or female. It would also help, perhaps, a brother and sister who wanted to live together.

The bill was passed by the Student Government Association and is currently being looked at by university administrators. The proposal is in the very early stages.

The SGA President, Adam Roddy, says the bill was passed after several students approached them about it.

"Students who didn't feel comfortable stating they were a male or female felt like it was uncomfortable to live in a residence hall with all males or all females. They felt this was an uncomfortable situation they did not want to be placed in," Roddy explained.

There would be strict criteria for someone to qualify for this kind of housing.

"It's not going to be housing for boyfriends and girlfriends. That's not what we want to happen," he said.

Gary Elgin is a Knoxville gay rights activist who says college is a phase of life crucial to coming out about your sexuality.

"It happens during that high school and college age. It's important that period is left comfortable for self-discovery," Elgin said.

Roddy says they haven't had any opposition to the idea. UT administrators are still looking at the proposal and how it may play out.

"More than likely it will be in the wing of a certain building, or the floor of a certain building. So we can see what the demand for it is," Roddy says.

In the meantime Roddy says they are losing on-campus residents. Students have already left or plan to leave because they don't feel included.

"This was a wakeup call for us. If we're losing students, we have to look at why," Roddy said.

UT expects to have some response about the matter by the end of next week.

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