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Ryerson University gets unique with gender-neutral residences

Most university students have already settled into their dorm rooms for the new academic year. However, students going to Ryerson University in downtown Toronto may find the organization of those dorm rooms a bit different.

Ryerson has decided to no longer segregate students based on gender. As a new student you don’t have to self identify; you can now choose an all gender option as a rooming choice. Once you choose all gender, you will be matched with another person who specified that preference.

This decision at Ryerson follows the steps taken by the Ontario University Application Centre to remove the mandatory gender question when completing an application.

The experience of moving away from home and into a university residence can be traumatizing. Students are unsure of what to expect and their whole social environment changes. Ian Crooskhank, the director of Housing and Residence Life, is hopeful this change will make students more comfortable, as they no longer are forced to confirm or make a choice based on gender.

Ryerson isn’t the first school to adopt gender-neutral policies. For the upcoming school year in California, the San Jose Unified School District will make similar changes. The school district will ensure there is at least one gender neutral bathroom on all campuses at the end of the academic year. This comes in response for demands to change the state law. The gender- inclusive restrooms are an accomplishment for the on-campus LGBTQ community. However, gender neutral locker rooms are not allowed.

Just a few days ago, popular high-end retailer, John Lewis , announced some clothing changes. The department store will remove boys and girls labels from children’s clothing. This move is a push to stop reinforcing gender stereotypes on children. This is the first major retailer to make this move. The gender- neutral clothing option for children will now feature the label ‘Boys and Girls’ clothing on the items. In July of this year, Target stores in the U.S unveiled a new gender neutral clothing line for kids after dropping two brands.

In response to the all gender decision at Ryerson campus housing, Director Crookshank remarked in an official release:

“People come from everywhere and have different journeys, and I think it’s important anytime we can take something that has traditionally been structured to put people in boxes, and open up those boxes, that creates a huge sense of empowerment for those who might otherwise have been marginalized.”

Let us know in the comments below your thoughts on gender- neutral options.