- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2015

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Western Community College will offer lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students a new community housing option this fall.

The college has set aside a cluster of about 40 suite-style apartments to create an optional community-style living environment for LGBT students, with a focus on transgender and intersex individuals, the Daily Nonpareil (https://bit.ly/1OLLF6a ) reported. The school initially set aside 18 units for gender-inclusive housing in early April, but interest quickly grew the plans to two complete floors, according to Director of Student Life Liz Luiken.

“This community is meant for students who want to live with others who are committed to gender inclusion and equity,” a statement from Iowa Western reads. “This community is created for students who do not wish to live in a facility that aligns with a binary view (male/female) of gender identities or who may not feel comfortable in a traditionally gendered environment.”

About 40 students have already expressed an interest in the new Pride Q(asterisk)mmunity cluster, with about 11 students already choosing the option on their housing applications, Luiken said. The housing application update went live within the last couple weeks. Luiken stresses that no student will be assigned to the cluster who doesn’t request placement.

“We wanted students to know this is not required,” Luiken said. “We’re not going to place anyone in this community who doesn’t want to be a part of it.”

Other schools, such as the University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, also plan to offer gender-inclusive housing options in near future.

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com


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