NAU provides housing options for LGBTQ+ students

Illustration by Amy Czachowski

Gender-Inclusive Housing (GIH) and Mixed-Gender Housing (MGH) allow students involved in the LGBTQ+ community to feel more included in their living circumstances on campus.

Sophomore Cameron Baird, a GIH resident assistant (RA) at McConnell Hall, said the application process for students interested in GIH or MGH is different from the application process for ordinary housing on campus.

“When they answer what gender they are, such as male, female [or] other, they don’t have to disclose what gender they identify as," Baird said.

Students who mark "other" on their application process will either be selected to live in a room by themselves if requested, or will be fittingly placed with a roommate of their preferred gender.

Baird said students involved in GIH and MGH are likely to feel more comfortable at NAU because it is inclusive toward students in the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

“I think it makes them feel a lot better that we’re accommodating to anybody and everybody," Baird said. "To future students, word will get around that our university is very accommodating and inclusive in that aspect."

GIH, which was established in 2012 to ensure safety in housing to transgender, gender-variant and questioning students, allows those who may not be comfortable with gender-binary housing options to live with others regardless of what gender they identify as.

Sophomore Michael Galbreath, who is a part of the transgender community, said he lived in GIH on the top floor of Gabaldon Hall during his freshman year.

“It was nice to not worry what someone was going to think of me,” Galbreath said. “It took a lot of stress out of my actual classes because it was one less thing to worry about and everyone was super supportive.”

For freshman students, the residential halls that offer GIH are Allen, Cowden, Gabaldon, Honors College, McConnell, Campbell, Morton, Taylor, Reilly, Sechrist, Tinsley and Wilson. For upper-division students, GIH is located in Raymond Hall, which is an apartment-styled building.

MGH differs slightly from GIH. House and Residence Life stated MGH isn’t specifically prioritized to transgender and gender-questioning students. Rather, it simply allows students of any sex or gender to live together, which can be more accommodating for families or close friends.

The residential halls that offer MGH slightly differ from the halls offered for GIH students. The freshman dorms that are offered for MGH include Allen, Cowden, Gabaldon, Honors College, McConnell, Campbell, Morten, Taylor, Sechrist, Tinsley and Wilson. Upper-division halls that offer MGH are Calderon, Gillenwater, McDonald, McKay Village, Mountain View, Pine Ridge Village, Raymond, Roseberry and South Village Apartments.

Sophomore Isabella Horton, secretary of the NAU organization People Respecting Individuals and Sexual Minorities (PRISM), said students who resided in MGH and GIH housing felt that they had a safe space as well as a community where friendships were easily made among residents.

"GIH felt like more of a community," Horton said. "We were all freshman, we all moved up to NAU and we were all queer. We already had something to bond over so it was easy to start friendships.”

NAU offers MIH and GIH for students to feel safe, valid and included within their university.