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LGBTQ organization petitions for gender-neutral housing at FAU

Lambda United created the petition to encourage student government legislation in favor of the change.

Innovation+Village+South%2C+one+of+the+dorms+at+FAU.+Photo+courtesy+of+FAU+Housing%27s+Facebook.+
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LGBTQ organization petitions for gender-neutral housing at FAU

Innovation Village South, one of the dorms at FAU. Photo courtesy of FAU Housing's Facebook.

Innovation Village South, one of the dorms at FAU. Photo courtesy of FAU Housing's Facebook.

Innovation Village South, one of the dorms at FAU. Photo courtesy of FAU Housing's Facebook.

Innovation Village South, one of the dorms at FAU. Photo courtesy of FAU Housing's Facebook.

Caroline Bell, Contributing Writer

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Editor’s note | Jan. 31, 8:08 p.m. This story has been updated with additional information about how Lambda United is working to promote the petition.  

Lambda United, a LGBTQ organization at FAU, has created a petition to make all dorms at the Boca campus offer gender-neutral room assignments.

The petition has over 100 signatures, and was spearheaded by Lambda United board members and Gabriella Miernik, who is the president of FAU’s Lambda Alpha Lambda, an LGBTQ-friendly and gender-neutral greek organization. Miernik is also a member of the Boca House of Representatives.

They are hopeful that it will persuade Student Government and FAU administration to approve of the change as soon as possible.

If approved, FAU will become the eighth college in Florida to offer gender-neutral housing.

Eckerd College, Florida International University, Ringling College of Art and Design, Stetson University, University of Central Florida, University of North Florida, and University of West Florida all offer gender-neutral housing options to students, according to CampusPride.com.

Lambda United President Alex Bruens wants to make it easier on trans, gender-variant, and gender-nonconforming students who struggle to find comfortable housing options on campus. 

“There should be housing options to affirm their identities or expressions or provide comfort in knowing their roommates are allies. This petition works to fill that gap at FAU and provide those options,” Bruens said.

Lambda United’s efforts to promote the petition have spanned from a student-to-student approach to speaking with FAU administration. Board member Katie Abel has set up meetings with FAU’s Housing office to discuss the issue, and Ally Walchak has helped advertise the petition on the Breezeway and collect signatures, Bruens said. 

Bruens also believes that making all of the dorms gender-neutral is the best possible option to avoid stigmatizing the LGBTQ community further.

“If the university separates students who choose gender-neutral housing from other, that would further alienate trans and gender variant students,” Bruens explained.

Despite not having gender-neutral housing, FAU does have other LGBTQ housing resources. FAU’s housing staff receives LGBTQ training, there’s an LGBTQ roommate matching system, and also several gender-neutral restrooms around campus. 

Miernik is hopeful that the legislation she is co-writing for the housing change will pass in Student Government. 

“If there is opposition to this it’s because of some of my colleagues [in Student Government] did not thoroughly read the legislation or, if I’m being blunt, are just homophobic and transphobic individuals,” she said.

However, some students are against making all dorms gender-neutral.

“There is a possibility that the chances of rape and/or sexual assault will increase. In addition, it can also be argued that privacy will be violated for each gender, in accordance to the fact that they would be sharing restrooms,” FAU’s College Republicans President Steven Westervelt said.  

But Bruens believes that gender-neutral housing will be beneficial to all students, not just LGBTQ+ students.

This isn’t an issue just for our community. Rather, it’s a collective problem we all have to tackle,” Bruens said.

The University Press reached out to FAU College Democrats but did not hear back in time for publication.

Caroline Bell is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

1 Comment

One Response to “LGBTQ organization petitions for gender-neutral housing at FAU”

  1. Casey on January 30th, 2019 2:20 pm

    Is this a joke? You either have a penis or a vagina, people withe same genitals get housed together. The end.

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