The Gatepost Editorial: FSU must expand gender-inclusive options

Last week, President Donald Trump revoked federal guidelines that gave transgender students the right to use sex-segregated facilities that aligned with their gender identity.

University President F. Javier Cevallos responded to this with a campus-wide email informing students that this development would have zero effect on Framingham State transgender students.

Framingham State offers gender-neutral bathrooms and housing, and allows transgender students the right to use the facilities with which they identify.

While these policies are certainly progressive and accommodating, there are still a few changes administrators could implement to ensure FSU transgender and non-binary students are safe and comfortable.

Turning most dorms and bathrooms in residence halls into co-ed facilities would completely eliminate the headache of applying for gender-inclusive housing. Many transgender and non-binary students may feel uncomfortable applying for housing to begin with, whether it be because of fear of outing themselves or being ridiculed by those who have access to their records.

With co-ed facilities, these students simply don’t have to deal with the process of applying for gender-inclusive housing. Additionally, their peers would never question why they are using a particular bathroom, or why they are rooming with a certain sex.

Many universities and colleges across the country have done this, ridding themselves of these old-fashioned gender-segregation policies.

College students are adults and should be able to coexist in peace in a dorm room or bathroom with the opposite sex.

We at The Gatepost are not suggesting that everyone has to live in co-ed housing and use co-ed facilities. Retaining gender-segregated floors in some residence halls for students who would prefer to room with their gender is still essential.

However, more access to co-ed facilities would ensure that all students – cis, transgender and non-binary – would be able to live comfortably on campus.

In 2015, FSU instituted a preferred name policy which allowed faculty members and students to use their preferred names in systems such as class rosters and email addresses.

While this is a great option, not every transgender or non-binary student may feel comfortable using their preferred name in systems that family members may have access to for various reasons.

Framingham State should require all University professors to ask their students what their preferred pronouns are at the start of a new semester, and use those pronouns accordingly.

The ability to feel comfortable and respected in the classroom can make all the difference not only mentally, but academically as well.

Last year, The Gatepost implemented a policy that requires every reporter and photographer to ask for the interviewee’s preferred pronoun, along with their name and year.

If we can do it, professors can, too.

Under the First Amendment, all U.S. citizens have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, meaning any citizen can express themself as any gender with which they identify.

In our opinion, it would be unconstitutional of administrators not to accommodate these students to the best of their abilities. We at The Gatepost hope administrators will continue creating progressive new policies to aid our transgender and non-binary community members.

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