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Apr 3, 2013

Equality NC Responds to Legislative Efforts to Strike Down Gender Neutral Housing at UNC

Raleigh, N.C. — Equality NC, North Carolina’s statewide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, condemned a Senate bill (SB658) filed on Tuesday that would overturn the University of North Carolina’s recently-adopted gender non-specific housing policy.

The pilot program would allow students of different genders to share apartments or suites but would not allow students of different genders to share bedrooms. Students are required to opt into the program in order to participate. The Department of Housing and Residential Education set aside 32 spaces for the pilot program (.4% of total available housing).

UNC’s Board of Trustees adopted the optional “gender-neutral” housing policy last year in part to alleviate harassment or bullying faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students.

Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC said in a statement:

“Senate Bill 658 sets a dangerous legislative precedent of revoking basic protections for at-risk LGBT young people. While bill sponsors toss around groundless arguments that gender neutral housing somehow detracts from academics, these types of policies actually ameliorate systemic bullying and harassment of LGBT students—harassment that could otherwise lead to the very real dangers of depression, drop-outs and suicide.”

Campbell added, “This is yet another attack on vulnerable LGBT youth coming from North Carolina leaders in recent weeks, including the approval on Wednesday of A.L. “Buddy’ Collins for North Carolina's Board of Education--a man with a proven record of opposition to policies protecting LGBT students from bullying and harassment.”

Campbell said, “Equality NC will work tirelessly to defend LGBTQ youth in North Carolina from bullying and violence, including opposing any legislative efforts to interfere with UNC's thoughtful gender-neutral housing policy, which was designed with the safety and well-being of all its students in mind.”

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