For the majority of people, choosing which bathroom to enter is something that’s been instilled in them since birth; but, for others, it’s not such a simple decision.
People who are transgender or gender nonconforming don’t have the luxury that many take for granted everyday. That’s why Capital created a gender inclusive hallway to help those who don’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth to feel more comfortable in their dorms.
Resident Assistant of the hallway, senior psychology major Ciarra Davis, said that assigning yourself a gender to do something as simple as enter a bathroom can be very stressful.
“If it’s a public space, especially, [with] everyone else that’s in there you’re worried ‘what are they thinking about me? Can they tell that I’m trans? Do they know what gender I am?’” said Davis.
They also added that it can cause so much stress and anxiety that people will avoid public restrooms all together.
While Capital has mixed gender hallways, the gender inclusive hallway differs because there can be female, male, and gender nonconforming people, living in the same room and using the same bathroom. In other hallways it’s same gendered roommates and same gendered bathrooms.
“You don’t have to have same gender roommates living together. We kind of threw the whole concept of gender out the window,” said Davis. “I have mixed gender people living together, a cis male and a cis female, and a trans guy and nonbinary person living together. It doesn’t matter, anyone can live with anyone.”
This is the first year that Capital has done a gender inclusive hallway and so far the response has been very positive.
“It’s been cool to see how little people care about it in a good way. It’s just a bathroom and that’s how it’s being perceived,” said Davis.
While Davis will no longer be the RA of the hall because they will be graduating, there will be a gender inclusive hallway next year that is sponsored by Pride. This will allow the hallway to be considered for theme housing, which will make it easier for transgender or nonconforming students to live there.
“Just knowing that you don’t have to compromise your identity to go into the girls bathroom, or actually being able to tell your RA and roommate about your preferred name and pronouns is such a relief,” said Andy Frederick, a sophomore music composition major.
Although many of the larger state schools are have gender inclusive hallways, Capital is one of the first of its size to offer a hallway of this kind. With the addition of this hallway, Capital is taking the necessary steps to ensure that every student feels safe and at peace in their home away from homes.
For any student who may be questioning or hesitant about coming out, Frederick said that there’s no need to doubt yourself or the validity of your identity.
“Talking to someone is always a good idea. There are plenty of resources, counselors … safe spaces, and friendly people, anyone in Pride and many others on campus, who would be willing to listen.”
For more information about gender inclusive housing, contact Ciarra Davis or Jon Geyer.