Gender Inclusive Housing
Gender Inclusive Housing (GIH) exists with the explicit goal of providing a housing experience with a sense of belonging and community for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and questioning students and allies of the those communities. In these assignments, students may room with any other student - regardless of sex, gender, gender identity/expression, or sexual orientation. This community is open to incoming first-year students, transfer students, and returning students. GIH housing is available across all room types and within all Living-Learning Programs, so rest assured that you can be a part of GIH and any LLP you wish!
How to Apply for Gender Inclusive Housing
- While completing a housing contract (you must first be offered housing during a regular housing process to engage in GIH), you will see a tab called "Gender Inclusive Housing." On that tab, you should indicate your interest in the program in the dropdown provided.
- Students who indicate an interest will have a short-answer question displayed on a new tab that then opens next in the workflow.
- After submitting, Housing and Residence Life staff will review and add students into the GIH program.
- You should continue through the housing process, electronically signing your terms and conditions, and then moving into the Web Screen Name/Searchable Status and Roommate Question sections. On the Web Screen Name, you will be able to write a few paragraphs about yourself that you wish to share with potential roommates. Note: this section is not searchable, so the questions referenced above under Roommate Questions give you a chance to narrow your search. We strongly encourage students to create roommate groups so that they are familiar with the needs of their roommate in this community whenever possible.
- If you are selected into GIH, your assignment room options (those rooms tagged as being available to this community) will be displayed when your assignment timeslot opens.
If the options listed do not reflect your gender identity, or if you have any questions, concerns, or specific needs to be considered, please feel free to contact Robby Specht, GIH Program Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Please note: Students who are not interested in gender inclusive housing will not be assigned into those specific spaces. This housing option is not available in the Corps of Cadets and Oak Lane housing areas.
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Gender Identity in the Housing Contract
Gender identity (as may be different from birth/assigned at birth/documented gender) in the StarRez system is currently limited to Male, Female, Neutral, Other, and Unknown. We need to work within these options, although they are not as encompassing as we may prefer.
- Unknown is typically provided by the university system when data is not available.
- Neutral typically designates an identity that cannot be taken to refer to either of the male or female identities alone or may have aspects of either.
- Other designates a gender identity that doesn't fit the categories above.
In the StarRez system, Male, Female, and Neutral gender identities work within the GIH process automatically. Individuals with Unknown or Other identities will require additional communication between the student and Housing and Residence Life staff to complete the assignments process.
Roommate Questions and Roommate Groups
Those who may seek roommates who are open to and supportive of the communities above, but who are not specifically interested in GIH may find two Roommate Questions to be helpful in finding a roommate match. The Roommate Questions may also be used within the GIH program to further identify students who may be a good fit as a roommate. Students may search within the "Roommate Groups" tab to find students who have responded similarly and then contact those students to talk about forming a roommate group and work together to select a room assignment. These questions under the Roommate Questions tab within the housing contract are:
- Having my roommate be LGBTQIA-friendly is: (important to me, not important to me, choose not to answer, or leave blank)
- Living with a transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming roommate is: (comfortable for me, not comfortable for me, choose not to answer, or leave blank)
The best way to avoid roommate conflicts is to have roommates proactively discuss expectations of each other and the shared living space. This includes guests/visitors, expectations regarding privacy, cleanliness, shared items/food, etc. One of the best tools to avoid conflict is a roommate agreement. Students in on-campus housing are expected to complete a roommate agreement. When/if disagreements occur, it is best to talk about them as soon as appropriately possible. If needed, assistance initiating a difficult or uncomfortable conversation with roommate(s) is available from the resident advisor or Residence/Student Life Coordinator (RLC/SLC). Sometimes it is not ideal to remain roommates. If that is the best option, students may pursue a room change to another room. It is likely that this would be a traditional, gender-assigned room. It is highly unlikely that a completely empty room would be available in the system at any point in the academic year.
Community Expectations and Communication
Housing and Residence Life strongly discourages students of any sexual orientation who are in a relationship from living together in a residence hall room; however, we do not question the student’s intentions for wanting to live in the Gender Inclusive Housing option. Our expectation is that roommate matches last the entire academic year and for the roommate match to be just one of many relationships formed within and outside of the living community.
It is the student’s choice to communicate with family members about the decision to live in a Gender Inclusive Housing environment. Housing and Residence Life encourages this conversation between family members and students about the housing choice so that they can be in support of the student’s decision.
Housing and Residence Life reserves the right to consolidate space as needed to maximize effective use of on-campus space and may change assignment after notice to the affected student as per the terms of the housing/dining contract. For example, if the assignment of a new roommate into a former gender-neutral space might create conflict within the hall or not be reasonable due to the location of the bathroom facilities, the remaining roommate may be required to relocate.
Gender Inclusive Housing at Virginia Tech