Gender-Inclusive Initiatives Implemented

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Angela Markwith
Staff Writer

The Insurance Non-Discrimination Act was passed in the state of California in 2006. However, it wasn’t until Apr. 13 of last year that California’s Department of Managed Health (DMHC) ordered California’s health plans to officially remove any kind exclusions of coverage based on gender identification or expression. Now, beginning Aug. 1, 2015 USF will take big steps in following California’s establishment of gender equality. It is through the efforts of the USF student body, LGBTQ Caucus, Health Promotion Services (HPS), and the USF Leadership team that our health insurance plan will now comply with California’s Insurance Gender Nondiscrimination Act that prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against those of the transgender community. Aetna, the health insurance plan that students are provided with, will begin to cover medically necessary care for transitioning students as well as equal access to quality health care.

In addition, gendered language is in the effort of being removed from various documents including letters to students, forms, applications, etc.

Another big change that is being implemented here at USF is gender inclusive housing, which will be available for the 2015-2016 school year. Gender inclusive housing is defined as an option for two or more students to share the same room regardless of their sex, gender, or gender identity. These kinds of housing assignments are only intended for students that desire to live in a gender-inclusive housing environment, and is not being implemented in all USF housing areas.

Students may choose to live in this kind of environment for many reasons. Some reasons may include: if students are more comfortable living with a roommate of the opposite gender, if students are gender nonconforming or a community ally, if students don’t feel comfortable in hyper-masculine or hyper-feminine environments, and more.

This opportunity has since been taken advantage of by many students including junior, Jasmine Bautista, who strongly believes that students should be able to have the option to live in a space where they feel the most comfortable, regardless of gender or sex.

“I chose to be a part of the gender inclusive housing initiative as I thought it was a great idea that USF is promoting a more open-minded and accepting community,” said Bautista.

For upperclassmen transfers and continuing students, gender inclusive floors include Phelan fifth floor and the third floor of Pacific Wing. For students 21 and over, Loyola Village Building A will be available for those who wish to reside in these kinds of living environments. Gender inclusive housing for freshmen has yet to be determined. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the gender inclusive housing plays out,” said Bautista.

After creating Gender Neutral Restrooms, these progressive changes that USF has implemented are steps forward in fully establishing gender equality.

Sophomore Spirit Squad member Yasmeen Dandan is very supportive of these new changes. “The fact that USF is working towards fully establishing acceptance and equality for all genders really makes me proud to be a student here,” said Dandan.

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