Vote “yes” on gender-inclusive housing referendum

April 9, 2024

Photo by Sabrina Shaffer

Gender-inclusive housing is essential for the safety, health, and well-being of LGBTQ+ students at Georgetown. The editorial board calls on all undergraduate students to vote “yes” on the upcoming GUSA referendum for comprehensive gender-inclusive housing.

The gender-inclusive housing referendum opens for voting on April 11 at 8 p.m. and closes on April 13 at 8 p.m., the same timeline as GUSA Senate elections. At least 25 percent of undergraduate students must vote on the referendum for it to pass with a simple majority. 

The two-part referendum calls for Georgetown to add a question to the Living Preference Questionnaire that asks if students would be “affirming and supportive of a roommate who identifies as LGBTQ+,” by fall 2024. The referendum also calls for the university to establish a gender-inclusive housing system that would “allow all undergraduate students to pick roommate(s) of different gender(s) than their own,” by fall 2025.

Currently, Hoya Housing only allows students to choose “male” or “female” as gender identity options when applying for on-campus housing. This forces students who identify outside of the gender binary to choose an option that does not align with their identity. Georgetown also requires that students who live on-campus room exclusively with members of that same gender identity. This can create fear for trans, non-binary, and other LGBTQ+ students, who may not be able to live with the gender identity they are most comfortable with. 

Today, over 450 colleges and universities in the United States, including American, George Washington, and Howard University in D.C., offer gender-inclusive housing. Six other Jesuit schools, including Gonzaga University, also provide gender-inclusive housing for students.

While Georgetown students have long advocated for gender inclusive housing, the university has not taken concrete action on these demands. If the GUSA referendum passes in the student body, it is delivered to the university board of directors for consideration. This demonstrates that gender-inclusive housing is something many students care about and pressures administrators to take immediate action for the safety of LGBTQ+ students.

“The reasoning for the referendum is to make sure that the voice of the student body is comprehensively heard and strongly communicated,” GU Pride’s Director of Advocacy Liam Moynihan (SFS ’25) said in an interview with the Voice. Moynihan believes that if this referendum passes, gender-inclusive housing could be a reality at Georgetown by fall 2025.

Previous GUSA referendums—like the 2019 GU272+ referendum, which saw a record 57.9 percent of students vote with 66 percent in favor—have successfully pressured the university to take concrete action. However, this can only happen if enough students turn out to vote on the referendum. Other referendums, like the GUSA restructuring referendum in 2021, have failed due to low voter turnout, highlighting the need for all students to cast their ballot.

Every student should be able to live comfortably on campus and without fear of harassment or discrimination. We call on students to show up for LGBTQ+ students by voting “yes” on the gender-inclusive housing referendum. LGBTQ+ students deserve to feel safe in their homes on the Hilltop.

Editorial Board
The Editorial Board is the official opinion of the Georgetown Voice. Its current composition can be found on the masthead. The Board strives to publish critical analyses of events at both Georgetown and in the wider D.C. community. We welcome everyone from all backgrounds and experience levels to join us!

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