American College Launches Gender Neutral Dorms

American College Launches Gender Neutral Dorms

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By Ron Ecstasy on October 24, 2011

In a move that is apparently stunning for some Americans, Grinnell college—situated in the middle of rural Iowa—has had gender neutral dorms for several years. The Des Moines Register writes about the phenomenon with a sort of disbelieving awe, as though the idea of sharing a dorm and bathrooms between college students is such a mind-blowing impossibility.

Gender neutrality in public spaces essentially works like this. The bathrooms are for everyone. Yeah, that’s it. If you do this in an otherwise co-ed dorm and throw in some trans/queer acceptance then that’s all a gender-neutral dorm really is. Everybody can poop and shower and sleep in the same room/building as everyone else. All the trans-people are made infinitely more comfortable in the process.

 A lot of people, for whatever reason, look at this sort of living situation with contempt. Either because they hate the gays, or can’t wrap their heads around the idea that young people of all parts of the gender-verse can live together without constantly boning each other. Well, young people are going to bone each other regardless of whether or not they live in the same room or building. But as these Grimmellites prove, the Co-Ed, gender neutral dorms aren’t really much different than living in any other dorm, except they don’t oppress the queers.

Creating a “shack up” community hasn’t happened, college officials say. Putting a man and woman together in a dorm room doesn’t mean they will have sex. Nor does it mean that two men or two women together won’t, students have told the National Gender Blind Campaign, a group of student activists working for gender equality.

“A couple decades ago, colleges were expected to behave as parents,” Conner said. “Today we are treating students like adults and letting them make their own decisions.”

Full disclosure time:  Ron went to a school in the Great White North that had only co-ed dorms and bathrooms. Not only that, but they let us drink wherever and do drugs in our rooms (which is beside the point). A dorm culture of liberality actually made the place more livable for everyone. There was no space that was completely dominated by solely guys or girls, and that had notable positive effects.

Gender neutrality is the future of public space.  While that may seem radical to Midwestern regional newspapers and their readers, the writing is on the wall.

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