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College Unveils Separate Dorm for Transgender, Non-Binary Students

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

At least two dozen schools, including Ivy League universities, allow some or all students to choose to share a college dorm with any other student, including those of the opposite gender, according to NBC News. Now, one college is offering dorm rooms specifically to students who identify as “transgender” or “non-binary” and will not include students who are “cis-gender,” meaning they identify with their biological sex.

Ithaca College in New York will allow students who identify as “transgender” or “non-binary” to live in a separate residential community that excludes “cis-identifying students.”

The 20-bed Open Pages Residential Learning Community at the college is available for upperclassmen in order to “create a supportive community on campus comprised of students that have a shared experience,” the website states.

Students who apply to live in the housing community will have single-occupancy “all-gender” restrooms and close proximity to the school’s LGBTQ+ center, according to Fox News

The new housing, which opened in the fall semester, attempts to create a sense of community "with peers, peer leaders, and faculty" through "opportunities for students to discuss identity, privilege, and oppression as it relates to gender" as well as to "support students and help prepare students for academic success." 

"I am most excited to see and interact with other students involved in the Residence Learning Communities (RLC)." Cecil Decker, a student at Itahaca College, told the college. "The opportunity to see people truly inhabit the space and live as their full selves is an incredible privilege. The ability to create and be a part of this shared space and experience is a wonderful addition for any current or future transgender and nonbinary student at Ithaca College."  

Marsha Dawson, the college’s former director of residential life, told Inside Higher Ed that “the priority wasn’t money, it wasn’t filling beds; it was making sure the students were comfortable.”

According to Campus Reform, the Open Pages community plans to create a sense of community among the students by “[discussing] identity, privilege, and oppression as it relates to gender."

Ithaca’s “Campus Pride” rating is five stars out of five stars, according toa tweet from the school last fall.

“Ithaca College is a place that empowers students to live as their authentic selves,” said President La Jerne Terry Cornish told Ithaca.com when the rating came out. “This outstanding recognition from Campus Pride is evidence of the hard work of our faculty members, staff, and students in fostering our inclusive community on South Hill.”

“At Ithaca College, progress never stops,” Luca Maurer, the interim executive director for student equity and belonging and the director of the college’s Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services, told the outlet. “We continue to innovate to cultivate LGBTQ student success, and support students in creating meaningful community and a sense of belonging.”

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