IU will debut gender-neutral dorms next school year with all-inclusive floor

Floor has 16 single rooms, 2 double rooms

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Parents sending their kids to Indiana University next year will find students have a new option for dorm living, but it might not be for everyone.

There will be an all-inclusive floor where anyone can share the same room, regardless of gender.

"We can have a mixture of people who identify as male, female, gender non-conforming, gender queer, transgender... Whatever gender you want to identify as," said IU Assistant Director of Diversity Education Barry Magee.

The liberal arts residence hall already houses students pursuing similar liberal arts degrees. The new arrangement is another step toward helping students who share something more personal.

"It's nice that people don't have to be limited by their gender and that they can just hang out with friends," said IU student Ellie Bennett.

Beginning next year, students can choose from 16 single rooms and two double rooms on the floor. They'll share a gender-neutral restroom as well as a private one.

"Heavens yes I am proud of it, because if they can do this, then they can do other things that will foster diversity," said student Julius Lee.

Although many students approve of the new dorm arrangement, parents' reactions are yet to be seen.

"I don't know about other people's parents, but my parents kind of understand that whoever you get along with best is who you're going to live with," said student Lauren Hadden.

Freshmen students probably won't have the opportunity to live on the floor since the rooms will likely already be taken by older students, and students won't be assigned to these rooms, unless they request them.

"It's the beginning of a move toward creating some spaces where people of different gender identities can choose to live with each other," Magee said.

Supporters of the new dorm rooms say they're no different than living off campus with a group of friends.

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