Transgender USF students can now room with either sex

Next spring the college will test a program in which eight to ten students will be able to live in gender-neutral dorm rooms. The students must already know their roommates of choice, though the school will do their best to dissuade the pairing of romantic couples. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, parents will not be informed of a student's decision to room with a person of the opposite gender.

Few people, even conservative groups, would oppose the right of a transgender student to live with a friend who understands his or her situation. However, the deeper question is where should public colleges draw the line when it comes to who gets to choose their "type" of roommate and what criteria these choices should be limited to.

If this choice is given to transgender students, should it not also be extended to all students? Should an openly gay student be able to limit his potential roommates to other openly gay students? If so, should straight students be given the option of only rooming with heterosexual males or females? If foreign students would feel more comfortable bunking with students who share a similar heritage, should they be allowed to limit their roommate selection to other exchange students? If so, should black students be given the choice to only room with other black students?

I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for a transgender student to deal with the challenges of being who you want to be while sharing a dorm room the size of a prison cell with a bigoted roommate. However, by singling out transgender students, this may open the door for other students to limit their potential roommates by factors like race, sexuality, or religion.

Read the full St. Petersburg Times story by Kim Wilmath at

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click to enlarge Transgender USF students can now room with either sex - MTV
Transgender USF students can now room with either sex

click to enlarge Transgender USF students can now room with either sex - MTV
Transgender USF students can now room with either sex
  • MTV

The St. Petersburg Times broke the news that The University of South Florida will now allow transgender students an option when it comes to campus housing. These students can choose to live alone, with a friend of either gender, or they can select to live with a random roommate without being outed.

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