Gender Inclusive Housing

At the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, we want to create and promote inclusive communities where people of all identities are respected. Our department’s values include empowering, supporting, and valuing personal identity exploration and expression. Gender Inclusive Housing (GIH) allows students to select their preferred roommate regardless of their gender identity, gender expression, or biological sex. Please take a look at our FAQ to learn more about GIH at UWL.

What is GIH? expanding section

GIH accommodations create a supportive environment where students can live in the same room or apartment with any other student, regardless of sex or gender identity or gender expression. GIH is primarily housed in the Reuter Hall apartments, Eagle Hall, Laux, Hall, and Sanford Hall. We may be able to accommodate requests in other residence halls as well. Participation is voluntary. In order for residents to live in GIH, all roommates must agree to participate in GIH as part of the housing application.

Are there other institutions with GIH? expanding section

According to Campus Pride, over 260 colleges and universities offer opportunities for Gender Inclusive Housing. The institutions are listed on the Campus Pride website.

What are the qualifications for GIH? How do I sign up? expanding section

Gender Inclusive Housing is open to all residents. Students can indicate interest in the option through their housing contract and application process.

If you have questions about GIH, email the Office of Residence Life or call 608.785.8075.

You are also encouraged to connect with Will Van Roosenbeek, Director of LGBTQ Services and Programs to discuss your housing needs. Will can assist in finding roommates as well as work with Residence Life to find the best housing situation for you.

Will I be placed in GIH randomly? expanding section

No student will be placed in GIH without having requested this option.

How do I find roommates for GIH? expanding section

We honor roommate groups where the full group has indicated that they would like to live in GIH. The roommate group leader must verify all the members of the group.

If you have indicated interest in GIH on your contract and application, when you search for a roommate, you will only see others who have indicated interest in GIH.

If a parent or guardian does not want the student in GIH, can the parent have them moved? expanding section

The practice at UWL is to have students select their rooms. We encourage parents and guardians to communicate with their student about this process.

What about bathroom and shower privacy? expanding section

In the Reuter Hall apartments and Eagle Suites, the restroom, shower, and mirror/sink facilities are separated by lockable doors to ensure privacy.

In Laux Hall each floor has an all-gender, single-use bathroom and shower, as well as a male and female community bathrooms with private shower stalls.

Where can I find additional information or support? expanding section

If you would like more information or assistance, feel free to contact our partners:

Campus Climate 608.785.5094

Diversity and Inclusion Resources 608.785.5097

Pride Center

Why did we create GIH? expanding section

Gender Neutral Housing was introduced in the fall of 2013 following a student resolution from the Residence Hall Association Council (RHAC), which is the primary governing body for the residence halls at UWL. The resolution on November of 2011 authorized the creation of Gender Neutral Housing on the following grounds:

  • Excerpts from the referendum;
  • WHEREAS; Our University of Wisconsin-La Crosse continues to grow, it will become more diverse. People from an array of backgrounds and identities gather on campus with shared goals, to learn and receive an education; but some students, in this case, because of their normative gender expression and identity, receive privileges in university housing departments across the state; and,
  • WHEREAS; Gender Inclusive Housing can be defined as students who wish to live in a suite or room with members of any gender or sex; and,
  • WHEREAS; Gender Inclusive Housing options provide accommodations for students who do not identify with a specific gender, as well as those students who, because of their sexual orientation, feel unsafe rooming with members of their own sex; and,
  • WHEREAS; Reuter Hall currently and historically has housed upper-classmen at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; and,
  • WHEREAS; Reuter Hall provides separate rooms for each individual; and,
  • WHEREAS; Reuter Hall is touted as a place that feels “off-campus” but yet is an official on campus residence hall; and,
  • WHEREAS; Single gender suites often place queer inhabitants with heterosexual inhabitants who may not be accepting or who are even outwardly hostile thus creating an unsafe environment; and,
  • WHEREAS; The division of genders between male and female is based on the assumption of heterosexuality and a false gender binary that does not fit, or is not comfortable for a growing number of students; and,
  • WHEREAS; Daily life for individuals would be made easier and less stressful if they could choose to live with whomever they wished, regardless of gender; and,
  • WHEREAS; Students are more likely to work harder academically and participate more in campus life, when they feel comfortable with who they are and who they are around; and,
  • WHEREAS; Students who cannot feel safe or secure in their housing situations are categorically more likely to drop out, withdraw, and attempt suicide.

Gender Neutral Housing was then re-named Gender Inclusive Housing (GIH) in the spring of 2014 to be more in-line with the Office of Residence Life’s values regarding this housing option.