Where Are Transgender Miami University Students Supposed to Live?
Unfortunately, there’s not always a simple answer. Kaeden Kass, a transgender male student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently applied for a job as a resident assistant. Kass was offered a job, but on the condition that he lives with female roommates because his birth certificate lists his gender as female.
Early in the application process, Kass said that he did not want to be placed in a female dorm, and did not think his situation would present a problem.
According to the university’s Statement of Non-Discrimination, “Miami University is committed to providing equal opportunity and an educational and work environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or veteran status.”
“I was very clear with Residence Life from the start that if they wanted to put me in a sex-segregated corridor it would need to be a male one because living in a female corridor would not be acceptable for me and they assured me this was fine,” Kass said.
After beginning the application process, Kass was informed by the Dean of Students, Susan Mosley-Howard, that he would be housed based on his legal sex.
Kass said he has filed an official charge of discrimination with the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity against Mosley-Howard as well as against Robin Parker, general counsel in the Office of the President and against Jerry Olsen, director of the Office of Residence Life.
Demere Woolway, Miami’s coordinator of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (GLBTQ) Services, was involved in the talks about Kass’ case. She said she is displeased the university has been unable to accommodate Kass thus far.
“I think it’s really unfortunate that we weren’t able to find a housing situation that was what was appropriate for this student,” Woolway said. “I personally feel that we should be able to house people on the basis of their gender identity and not just their sex.”
Kass has been informed that an outside investigation could continue until May.
I never lived in a dorm, but I feel like this is one of those cases where the decision should lie with the students, not school officials. What if fellow dorm-dwellers don’t think twice about the “legal gender” of their RA? Is that any of their business?
I’ve always thought of college as a place to expand your horizons. It’s hard enough being transgender in high school, right?
(via The Miami Student)