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Kaeden Kass, Transgender Student, Alleges Housing Discrimination At Miami University Of Ohio

Posted: 03/23/2012 5:43 pm Updated: 03/23/2012 6:09 pm

Transgedner Miami University Student

Kaeden Kass, a Miami University of Ohio junior who was born female but identifies as a transgender male, is petitioning against his school for saying he cannot be a resident adviser in an all-male dorm.

Kass said he was offered a position in a female dorm, but decided to file an official complaint of discrimination with the dean of students, the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity and the Office of Residence Life for a spot as an RA in a male dorm.

He said he is not filing the complaint just to get attention or special treatment.

"It's because Miami is violating its own policies and contradicted its own stated values," Kass told The Huffington Post. "Miami has made a commitment to honoring, valuing, and respecting diversity, and then I hand them a situation where they have a chance to practice what they preach, and they completely drop the ball."

Colleges around the country have increasingly recognized the difficulties LGBT students may face with on-campus dorms divided solely by sex, and many have implemented gender neutral housing options.

The University of North Carolina is working on a new housing policy, and several schools in California as well as the University of Pennsylvania already have gender-neutral on-campus housing options.

The trend increasingly gained attention when Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide after two other students spied on him having an intimate encounter with another man. Rutgers recently became the 60th school to implement gender-neutral housing.

Miami University spokeswoman Claire Wagner told the HuffPost that the school "Miami takes every case of discrimination complaint seriously and we will with this."

The university does housing options are done on a case-by-case basis.

Kass criticized his school's gender-neutral housing options, saying they're not necessarily a viable option.

"It's only available for second-year students and up," Kass told HuffPost, "It's very small, secretive, and hard to get into. You have to be interviewed and basically out yourself to do it ... And even if that was presented as an option for me, it's the principle of the thing. Why should I have to be slotted into the 'miscellaneous' category instead of being put in the same pool of job candidates as the gender that I am?"

Neither the dean of students nor the University's diversity office could immediately respond to HuffPost for a request for comment.

Kass told WLWT-TV that he will opt to wait for the results of his complaint. The Miami Student reports that the case is now being reviewed by an outside party.

Demere Woolway, Miami University's coordinator of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Services, told the Miami Student that it's unfortunate the school couldn't find an appropriate housing situation for Kass.

“I personally feel that we should be able to house people on the basis of their gender identity," Woolway told the paper, "and not just their sex."

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