Hi everyone, do you all remember the third and final part to the Dare to Explore Your Options series? It is the post about trans* resources that are offered through the UW’s Q Center. Well, just to recap, in this particular post, I mentioned the launch of queer/gender inclusive housing this year in three of the housing facilities on the UW Seattle campus (through collaboration between the Q Center and Housing & Food Services).
This past week I was fortunate enough to meet some new friends while making a visit to my old dorm, Poplar Hall! Their names are Keilani and Mataio. These two freshmen are not only roommates but they are cousins as well. After cozying up to their homey room on the 7th floor, they told me and my friends about how they ended up rooming together in gender-neutral housing. Later in the week I got the opportunity to catch up with them and ask them several questions regarding their feelings and experiences living there, thus far.
1. What did you initially think when you found out that the UW started to offer gender-neutral housing this year?
Keilani (K): I honestly hadn’t known UW offered them at all until our situation came up. However, i think it’s a great opportunity to add a little more diversity to UW.
Mataio (M): I felt like it was gonna create a more comfortable environment for people like me to be in a place I can call home without any judgement.
2. How does it make you feel that the Q-Center (UW’s resource center for LGBTQ students) collaborated with Housing and Food Services to offer gender-neutral housing? Does this give you a good impression of the LGBTQ community on campus?
K: It makes me happy to know that UW is trying to become a more welcoming campus. Yes, this definitely gives me a good impression of the LGBTQ community on campus.
M: I like that they collaborated. No, this does not give me a good impression of LGBTQ community on campus, because they don’t put enough emphasis on who they are, or what they stand for. I had to go out and look for it myself.
3. How have people on your floor that are not in gender-neutral rooms reacted to you two living together?
K: Some people (mainly women), at first, were pretty accepting once they found out Mataio was not only gay, but my cousin as well. Others (mainly guys), were pretty shocked, but accepted it over time.
M: Some people made me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. They seemed somewhat intimidated by me.
4. Have you found any benefits to living in gender-neutral housing? If so, what are they?
K: Absolutely! Mataio and I have been able to create an even closer bond than before. We share TONS of the same interests. He even made me become more aware of how judgmental the world can be, and I hate whenever he gets judged.
M: Yes, I can be myself and not hide who I am, and I’m truly happy with it being that way.
5. What made you opt for gender-neutral housing as opposed to living with someone who you share the same sex with?
K: I opted into gender-neutral housing, because Mataio is my blood-related family, and I love him!
M: I opted into gender-neutral housing, because Keilani is my blood-related family, and I love her!
6. What could HFS do to improve upon gender-neutral housing for the future?
K: Personally, I think they’ve done a great job so far, and I wouldn’t change a thing about their intentions or goals.
M: HFS should be more organized with distinguishing roommates. They should make it known that there’s a Q-Center out there; I had to look for it myself.
It was great getting to know these two and I hope that by sharing their experiences living in queer/gender inclusive housing, thus far, will make other LGBTQ students feel more welcomed by UW. For those of you who are now interested in gender-neutral housing, you can either visit the Queer-Positive Roommate Forum (if you still want to learn more about it) or you can go right ahead and fill out the Gender-Neutral Housing Request!