USF to add transgender option to housing applications

07/11/11 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 “transitioning.” Conservatives may not be happy about it, but some students say it’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 isn’t comfortable rooming with a transgender individual, he or she can get assigned to another room.

Social conservatives aren’t pleased with the move.

That’s Terry Kemple, president of Community Issues Council. He believes people who don’t adhere to traditional gender identities, do so by choice.

Kemple said he’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 doesn’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 “transitioning” 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.

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