Who Gets to Live in the Women’s Dorms?

Transgenders Create New Questions


What decides a person’s gender? For that matter, who gets to decide? This, along with a few other problems, have emerged for college officials as a growing number of transgender students are attempting to force the question.

A growing number of openly transgender students have forced schools around the country to address questions so basic that they were rarely asked just a few years ago, much less answered: What defines a person’s gender, and who gets to decide?

There was an article that caught my attention as I was reading the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Friday, July 25th. It shared some of the issues colleges are facing that didn’t exist a few years ago.

In Oregon, there is a small Christian College that has told a student that was born anatomically a female, and calls himself a man, that he/she can’t be housed in the male dorm and must be in the female dorm. He has legally had his sex changed by the State. With the refusal, the college did offer him a single-person apartment on campus, or off-campus housing.

Another case involves a student in California that was settled when the federal government adopted the position that under Title IX, they barred sex-abuse discrimination and the school must accept a student’s gender self-identification.

In Maine, the highest court ruled that state law requires the same thing but other courts have disagreed. In 2009, the courts ruled a school could ban a transgender woman from using the women’s restroom because the intent was to protect the privacy of other women not to discriminate.

It soon will be time to send college students back to their dorms for another year. How do you think colleges should handle this delicate issue?


The opinions in this blog belong to Tom Knuppel