Gender-Neutral Housing and Just Being You
College is considered the time to explore yourself, and you might just find yourself learning something new. Self-exploration can look like anything, and it’s essential to ensure our own growth as humans. Let me tell you about the time Arcadia helped me figure out myself.
I grew up in North Philadelphia, and you might assume that living in a metropolitan area meant I was surrounded by accepting individuals. You’d be wrong.
Living in low-income areas that had high gun violence rates made it a little tricky to navigate the world, especially as a gay and transgender-identifying individual. The biggest challenge was the house I was raised in.
Many of my family members had rigid views on what the world should look like, and I could never meet their expectations. I came out as transgender in 8th grade, and from the start, not many believed me. I’d spent many years up until my high school graduation questioning whether I was worth loving as I was. Then, I stepped foot onto Arcadia’s campus.
I reside in Thomas Hall, which is currently being used as gender-neutral housing. Gender-neutral housing is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a neutral space that’s fit to house anyone. I’m not sure what others’ opinions are surrounding this kind of housing, but let me tell you how much of a dream it is.
As a trans student, I absolutely hate being corralled in single-gender spaces. It’s confusing, and disheartening to deal with the assumptions of others. I enjoy wearing clothes that make me feel good. Whether that’s from the women’s section or the men’s section. Having to think about which bathroom is safest to use is never a good dilemma to be in. As much as Arcadia is an accepting place, it’s hard to exist in the world as a queer person in general. Though most of the daily worries I face fade away when I’m on campus.
Being able to walk into a bathroom without fear is probably one of the biggest comforts of a gender-neutral floor. Alongside being housed with others who find that living arrangement comfortable as well, this really allows for the community to thrive.
The thing about my living arrangement specifically is that my floor is entirely made up of single dorms, so nobody has a roommate. Though no one here goes without the floor-mate experience, as we were able to establish common interests within the first few weeks on campus. We’ve done things like Halloween candy exchanges, given out Valentine’s Day cards, and taken part in community game nights! So we are having every bit of the college experience.
And when I can see the sunset shine through my window, I know it was another good day of being myself.
I cannot stress enough, the housing department is great! They strive to make every student feel comfortable, no matter what that looks like for them. If you’re looking to explore your housing options, check out the Arcadia website. This is where you can find any information surrounding the current housing options, alongside the contact info for the housing department. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. No need to wonder; just ask.
Remember that you’re seen and loved. Even if you come from a rough home, I’ve learned that it’s okay to make a new one. Especially, here.