Half of incoming students at one campus choose all-gender housing

As students push for a more inclusive and open climate, one university makes strides towards gender-inclusive housing.

This year, Ryerson University is the first institution in Canada to offer an "all-gender" housing option, reports Metro News.

In an effort to accommodate students of all gender identities, Ryerson's new housing application no longer requires students to identify their gender, writes Metro News.

Now, students can choose an "all-gender" housing option that assigns them a roommate from a pool of all different gender identities, says Ian Crookshank, director of housing and residence life at Ryerson.

However, if students choose to disclose their gender, they can elect to room with someone from the same gender, writes Justin Li for CBC News.

Creating gender-inclusive restrooms on campus

Ryerson's shift stems from advocacy work done by their student union, reports Li.

According to Camryn Harlick, vice president of equity, the previous housing application could "other" students who did not identify as male or female. If applicants did not identify as either gender, they had to select an "other" option and speak with a residency representative, writes Li.

The process essentially forced students to "out themselves," says Sophie Lafleur, president of Ryerson's residence council. As a non-binary trans student, Harlick recalls her own discomfort during the housing application process.

About 45% of the current 856 students living on campus have elected for the all-gender housing option, says Crookshank. The administration has not received any complaints so far, which Crookshank cites as evidence of the initiative's widespread support.

Ultimately, Harlick hopes that the university's all-gender housing is a step towards a larger campus conversation about supporting trans students (Li, CBC News, 8/31; Metro News, 8/31).

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