By Gregg Casazza – Contributing Writer
My relationship with gender-neutral housing has been strained from the start. At freshmen orientation, I was advised by my orientation leader to avoid living in East Hall, as it was for “freaks and weirdos.” As a rising junior now, I can’t help but feel that the school feels the same way.
All students have the option to live wherever they choose, whether it be a house or in a suite. But for those who elect to live in gender-neutral housing, they have only one option. There are 18 beds on the first floor of East Hall designated for this, and once those are filled there is currently nowhere else on campus that these students can live together.
There needs to be more options for this style of housing on campus. According to CampusPride.com, out of the 17 colleges in Massachusetts that support gender-neutral living, Lasell College has the most limited options. Many schools, including Boston University, have numerous residence halls open for gender-neutral living, So although we do have the option, Lasell still has a long way to go.
I understand specialty housing is often for a smaller demographic, and therefore needs less space, but gender-neutral is unlike quiet houses, or substance free housing. Not everyone in the building needs to be signed up for gender-neutral so offering a few more rooms in different residential buildings, or allowing anyone to live with anyone they choose could be completely possible, and have a relatively low impact on other students.
To live in gender-neutral you need to apply, partake in the specialty housing room draw, and both roommates need to agree to it. No one is forced to live with someone they may be uncomfortable living with, so why shouldn’t there be more gender-neutral housing options? If everyone rooming together is choosing to live gender-neutral, then how does that affect anyone else?
Rooming is a stressful situation for everyone, especially for those trying to live gender-neutral. For a housing style created to be a safe place for the LGBTQ+ community, and for anyone who wanted to live with the opposite gender, it is hard to feel anything other than less-than when the school is only willing to give you one option, rather than the same equal opportunity that other students are allotted.