USF to add transgender option to housing applications listen07/11/11 Kate Bradshaw
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Last week the University of South Florida made a little change to its campus housing applications. Now, instead of just male or female, students will also have the option to select â€œtransitioning.â€ Conservatives may not be happy about it, but some students say itâ€™s a sign of generational progress.
Ana Hernandez, Dean of Housing and Residential Education at USF, said the change is meant to meet the demands of a changing student population.
She said transgender students can choose single rooms, bunk with a mutually chosen roommate, or go with a traditional, somewhat random room assignment. She said a the random assignments will go by birth gender, and that a if a non-transitioning student isnâ€™t comfortable rooming with a transgender individual, he or she can get assigned to another room.
Social conservatives arenâ€™t pleased with the move.
Thatâ€™s Terry Kemple, president of Community Issues Council. He believes people who donâ€™t adhere to traditional gender identities, do so by choice.
Kemple said heâ€™s concerned that assigning campus housing among less strict gender guidelines will reinforce gender confusion.
On campus, attitudes about the policy change were a little different.
Lauren Merrick is a speech pathology major from Orlando. She said she doesnâ€™t believe that gender orientation is something you choose.
Michael Foster, a physics major from Brandon, agrees.
Foster said the changes reflect a generational shift toward a more tolerant society.
The â€œtransitioningâ€ option started appearing on applications last week. Next year, students applying for on-campus housing will likely be able to select another option: not indicating any gender.