Gaslighting 101, Transgender College Roommates Edition

Gaslighting 101, Transgender College Roommates Edition July 14, 2022

My daughter’s college housing application (small red-state public college) had some great questions on it for roommate-matching. Let’s try to line up preferences for smoking, cleaning schedules, study hours — lots of good stuff.  And then there was this one:

“Would you like to stand in solidarity with LGBQT+ students by rooming with a student of any gender identity?”

There was no further explanation as to what this question might mean.

She has no problem whatsoever with sharing a room with a lesbian student, nor with an actually-female student of any orientation who doesn’t adhere to some stereotype of gender norms. But it seemed wrong and incomplete to assume that was the question.

She inferred the real was question, “Are you willing to room with a male who is claiming to be female and therefore he wants to room with a girl?”  And the answer to that was a big fat no. She’s not gonna share a room with some guy she’s never met before, end of conversation.  The set of circumstances where she should reasonably share a bedroom with any male of the species, anywhere anyhow, is extremely limited.  Seriously?

But let’s go one deeper: What if you’re a gay or lesbian student?

Now you’ve been informed by State U that if you aren’t open to rooming with someone of the opposite sex, you’re not “in solidarity” with yourself. The university has totally appropriated your identity and (in particular for lesbian students) is using it to guilt you into putting yourself into an extremely vulnerable situation.  I’m sorry but what date rape prevention program would advise a young woman to randomly invite into her bedroom a guy she doesn’t even know?

Let’s go another layer deeper: What if you’re a gay or lesbian student, and now this vaguely-worded question has implied that perhaps the mere fact of your sexual orientation is a reason another student can decline to room with you?

The school after all chose not to talk about “solidarity with transgender students” but with “LGBQT+” students.  Are you going to end up with a roommate who thought he or she was opting out of any roommate who identified as gay or lesbian? Are you expected to stay in the closet if you didn’t somehow disclose your sexual orientation on some official form? Is there going to be a scene? Are you going to be made to change rooms?

Let’s go yet another layer deeper: What if you are a transgender student who just wants to attend this school that offers the academics you need, but it’s too far to commute from home, and frankly you don’t care where you sleep, you just need a room with anyone who isn’t going to be a threat to you? Or you know, you’re just a normal college student who wants to live on campus just cause?

Now the school has set up the expectation that you the effeminate male or the butch female are supposed to not room with anyone who hasn’t checked the box? You prefer a cross-gender nickname, you wear cross-gender clothing, you’re somewhere on the trans spectrum by your own admission . . . so now it looks like you don’t get a room even in the dorm of your biological sex unless explicitly invited by a jury of your peers?

Because that’s what the question says.  It doesn’t say “opposite sex.”  It says “gender identity.”

The university is supposedly so enlightened and “in solidarity” but is actually creating a situation where gay, lesbian, and trans students are more vulnerable to ostracizing and the normalization of discrimination.

All this gaslighting because the university is somehow unable to require students who want to gender-bend to either do so in the dormitory of their own actual sex or else get a single room in a co-ed dorm. Which policy of course would require no special forms or treatment, just everyone being given an equal opportunity to access campus housing.

Or maybe they can’t control male-on-male anti-trans physical violence?

Something. Whatever the case, it’s a whole lot of gaslighting because the school is somehow not able to function in this modern world.

File:Vic Schendel- Prairie Dogs (3) (48804712526).jpg

Photo: One prairie dog standing upright, nose stretched towards the sky; three others looking on with the usual prairie dog curiosity.  No metaphor implied, we just like prairie dogs.  Courtesy of the USFWS and Wikimedia, public domain.

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