Students around the UK are campaigning to change student accommodation offered by their university. Many believe that there should be LGBT only halls of residence for first year students, to avoid them getting discriminated against by their straight housemates.
At the moment, only Birmingham University offers an ‘LGBT housing option’ to freshers, but the idea is that all the institutes in the country should offer this style of accommodation to their students. Of course, heading to university for the first time is a scary experience for all of us, but many gay, lesbian, trans and bi students fear how their new housemates will react to them.
That is why students around the country are now campaigning so that none of them have to face ‘victimisation as well as homophobia, biphobia and transphobia from flatmates’. The National Union of Students’ LGBT campaign is to set out the pros of changing the way halls of residence work. Apparently, it will use case studies from university campuses in the US that already offer LGBT-dorms to students.
While the campaign seems to be gaining a whole lot of momentum and media attention, some are questioning whether it’s a step forwards or backwards. After all, the idea of LGBT only halls means segregating the student population on the basis of their sexual orientation.
“These initiatives may address the problems that LGBT people face in the short-term. However, ensuring that everyone is free to be themselves in whatever context isn’t just about creating specific safe spaces. It’s about creating a culture that is inclusive and accepting,” claimed a spokesperson from LGBT charity Stonewall.
Regardless of that, the sad truth is that not all accommodation is a so-called safe space for every LBGT student, which is why these changes may be necessary. While the campaign seems to be dividing opinions, it certainly opens up a new topic of discussion.