Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, recently announced that they will be offering gender neutral housing in the 2013-2014 school year. While Dickinson has offered co-ed housing in the past, the 2013 Spring housing policies note the difference between co-ed and gender neutral housing arrangements.
The terms co-ed /mixed-gender operate on the assumption that there are two genders: male and female. It leaves no room for those who do not identify as their biological sex or those who are transgender or gender non-conforming. This idea is based on the notion that there are more than two genders, in fact an infinite amount. Allowing for gender-neutral housing, as opposed to co-ed /mixed gender, shows more inclusiveness and room for diverse identities.
Ariana Auerbach, a member of Dickinson’s LGBTQ group, Spectrum, said, “While it was possible to have mixed-gender housing before, it was a very complicated process and it was not specifically noted as gender-neutral. Since there are students here who are not comfortable with the same-sex housing whether it be because they identify as trans or if they simply do not fit the typical gender “norms” the LGBTQ community here has been expressing a lot of interest in gender-neutral housing.”
Dickinson is the newest school to join other Pennsylvania colleges, including Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pennsylvania, Bucknell University, and Gettysburg College, in offering gender-neutral housing options for students.