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LETTER: Gender-neutral housing must be backed for true equality

In response to “SGA backs gender-neutral housing” published Friday, March 25

The purpose for this letter is to show how important and essential the policy of gender-neutral housing is for not only transgendered people, but for people with all sexual orientations.

Every person that goes to college and lives in the dorms should have the chance to live with people they feel comfortable being around.

“Co-ed housing can ease an LGBTQ student’s fear of not being accepted by his or her assigned roommate,” said Joan Carbone, executive director of Residence Life of Rutgers University, in a USA Today article.

“The program also increases options for all students to choose a roommate with whom they are compatible, regardless of gender,” said Jenny Kurtz, director of the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities at Rutgers.

Although it seems like same-sex dorms were working in the past, that might be because a lot of college students do not experience a roommate or a friend committing suicide because of being discriminated against and feeling like they are not wanted by the people they live with.

In the wake of the high-profile suicide of a gay Rutgers University student last fall, the New Jersey college will implement gender-neutral housing in an attempt to make the university more inclusive.

Tyler Clementi, 18, jumped from the George Washington Bridge in September after two other Rutgers students allegedly videotaped a sexual encounter between him and another man and posted the video online.

“Maybe the outcome would have been different if he had been able to choose his own roommate,” said Yousef Saleh, president of the Rutgers University Student Assembly. “At least now there’s an option.”

People, no matter their gender and sexual orientation, should be treated equally by every person they meet. Just because a person is transgender or gay does not mean they are different from anybody else.

Please be an advocate for gender-neutral housing by supporting all types of people no matter what. Try to understand that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are people too and they deserve all the same rights that heterosexuals do.

Show your support for gender-neutral housing and the LGBTQ community by going to Gay/Straight Alliance meetings, now called Spectrum. The meetings are held every Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Multicultural Education Center in the Bovee University Center.

Mindy Debo

Prudenville senior