BY IRISH HAINES
The 2017 fall semester is Temple’s first time offering gender-inclusive housing. It is available in Temple Towers and Morgan Hall North for upperclassmen and in 1940 and White Hall for incoming freshman or transfer students.
This type of housing is an optional experience and students must express if they are planning to opt-in in the MyHousing online housing application. According to the University Housing and Residential Life, students will “live in the same room (suite or apartment) regardless of biological sex, gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Talks about implementing a gender-inclusive housing have been circulating Temple University’s main campus for years. Serious discussions began in 2014 when Residential Life held focus groups to seek a level of interest and feedback from students.
One discouragement is students seeking to live with someone whom they are in a romantic relationship with. If during the year a vacancy occurs, University and Residential Life encourages the remaining residents to find someone on their own who is agreeable to the housing terms. If not possible, Temple will work with the residents to find other possibilities, such as placing someone from the housing waitlist.
For the community, it is seen as a step in the right direction for Temple. Alexis Mason, who is a Resident Assistant in Temple Towers for Gender Inclusive Housing, is enthusiastic about the option.
“…We are diverse and we all have different identities, but you should feel safe within your identity, especially within the Res. halls,” Mason said.
A resident in the gender-neutral housing, asking to go by Jill K. to maintain their privacy, agrees that it is a step in the right direction. They also mention that Temple could do more.
“I think we just continue in the direction that we’re going right now,” Jill K. said. “We continue opening more gender-neutral housing, ensure that both incoming freshman and people returning to Temple know that it is an option, and try to make it available to as many people as possible. Try to make it normal, less stigmatized.”
Temple’s strides to become a more welcoming campus is likely to continue.