The Gender Neutral Housing Option

Dejarelle Gaines

Coming to NYU for the first time is an experience that is both exciting, yet frightening. New people, new locations, but most importantly, new living situations. For those who are hesitant about change, having the option of gender-neutral housing with a complete stranger can be a bit jarring. Males and females sharing a single room for a semester sounds like most parents’ nightmare, but the situation isn’t as daunting as it seems.

Living with someone of the opposite sex does not have to be a big deal. If you’re worried about how your parents will react to the news, don’t be. After their initial response, and likely a story about how in their day the sexes were separated when it came to living situations, they’ll get over it. It is up to you to quell your parents’ fears and inform them that living in the same room as the opposite sex does not mean that they should automatically jump to the worst-case scenario. There is a healthy middle ground that parents will likely fail to imagine.

You might actually come to prefer living with a person of the opposite sex. Excluding the possibility that you’re attracted to your roommate — which is a whole different ball game — we’ll stick to the strictly platonic situation.

Having two different sexes in the same room can make for a great living situation. Girls and boys have enough innate differences that it evens out the atmosphere in the room. Not too much estrogen, not too much testosterone, but instead a healthy mix of the two that is just right.

This obviously won’t apply to every gender neutral housing situation. There are some instances where extraneous factors can cause the situation to be anything but ideal, but this is a risk that we take when signing up for any random housing assignment. It’s a game of russian roulette. Most of the time the housing situation will be great, where you meet awesome people that you probably wouldn’t have met had you not been put in a room together for a year. However, there is also that small possibility that you will be in a situation where you and your roommate will be at each other’s necks.


Whatever option that you end up choosing on your housing application, just remember, don’t knock the gender neutral option until you try it.
A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 25 Housing Issue. Email Dejarelle Gaines at [email protected]

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