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Students host rally for trans-inclusive housing

A group of transgender students and community members gathered on Florida State University’s campus to demand changes to the campus housing policy for trans students. The student organization Gender Odyssey has been leading a campaign to adopt a new student housing policy that would, among other things, create an opt-in system for trans students to stay in dorms with fellow trans students, allow for students to change their name in the electronic housing registry system, and discipline students for transphobic harassment.

Student organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society, the Pride Student Union, and Planned Parenthood Gen Action were at the event. Community organizations also had a presence, including the Florida Coalition for Transgender Liberation, the Tallahassee Community Action Committee, and others. Both students and community members called out the lack of action on FSU’s part in securing transgender-inclusive housing.

“We have no need for platitudes, we have no need for claims of allyship, what our coalition and initiative needs is action, plans and communication,” said Finley Talley from Gender Odyssey. Talley also pointed out the lack of diversity within FSU’s housing program among its leadership, and the low retention rate of the LGBTQ+ community and oppressed nationalities.

Others agreed that there hadn’t been much focus on FSU’s behalf concerning transgende-inclusive housing. Planned Parenthood Gen Action member Emma Moses said, “When I first heard about FSU’s treatment of trans students I was shocked and upset but honestly I wasn’t really surprised. We all know FSU has a history of ignoring marginalized students on their campus, and the problem is that this has been allowed to happen for far too long. FSU administration refuses to hear us. Students deserve better.”

In addition to creating a petition that outlines their specific demands of FSU housing, Gender Odyssey has created the @transatfloridastate Instagram account where transgender and gender nonconforming students can submit their stories and anonymously share experiences in FSU housing. Gender Odyssey says they will continue to organize for safe and inclusive campus housing until their demands are met.

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