Policy not so genderblind

Mar 012011

What would it look like to have a gender-neutral society?

Ultimately, it would eliminate importance between the words “man” and “woman” in considering policy and employment.

For Rutgers University, it would start in the dorms, allowing men and women to share a room if they choose to.

And in some ways, this could seem like a way to make college living more inclusive, eliminating gender segregation and the intimidation gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students feel in dorms, as the National Student Genderblind Campaign argues.

A reaction to Tyler Clementi’s death –– Clementi was a gay student who committed suicide in September after allegedly being video taped by his roommate during a sexual interaction with another man –– Rutgers’ decision is their way to prevent future tragedies like this one.

For this, we applaud the university. With an obvious need for a culture shift, it’s great that Rutgers is actively seeking a solution to the problem.
But is this really a solution?

Yes, this move removes the obvious separation of men and women in the dorms, but has it really made them genderblind?

Or has it now placed men and women in the same room, open to more potential for sexual interaction and violence?

The NSGC would say no, but it does call for some concern on the university’s part about what they really hope to achieve with this move.

What happened to Clementi was certainly a tragedy, one that necessitates change. A young life was lost, but not simply because of a lack of gender neutrality.

It comes down to ignorance and a lack of education and respect. It’s these issues that need the second look, not just dorm inclusion.

Let’s just hope this measure doesn’t cause more problems than it solves.

 Posted by at 3:34 pm

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