First-year undergraduates at Ohio's largest university will have access to housing for transgender students for the first time this year and will be able to choose their own roommates, a school spokesman said on Tuesday.
Ohio State University has for years offered housing for students in their second year or higher who identify as LGBTQ, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, according to the campus website. But this fall is the first time freshmen are included.
The university is among 163 universities and colleges around the country that offer options for housing with a supportive environment for LGBTQ students, according to the national Campus Pride organization.
"Transgender students are valued members of the on-campus living community at Ohio State," OSU spokesman Dave Isaacs said.
The South Campus Gateway apartments, where transgender students will live, allow students of any gender to live together in two-bedroom apartments that include two private bathrooms.
Isaacs said a small number of incoming students have requested the housing this year.
Students must "self-identify" as transgender and it is highly encouraged, but not required, the students "self select their roommates" who can be the same or different gender, he said.
However, according to the OSU housing website the Gateway Apartments are "not intended and in fact ... highly discouraged - for romantic couples of any sexual orientation."
Classes at OSU begin on Monday, but students have started moving onto the Columbus campus this week. With 57,466 students, Ohio State has the second largest campus in the country, behind the University of Central Florida.
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