Sheffield University to offer students LGBT-only accommodation

Sheffield University is to launch LGBT-only accommodation option, it was announced this week.

The option will be available from September 2018 for new students, after the Student Union’s LGBT committee collected personal experiences from LGBT students who said they would feel safer if they had LGBT-only housing.

According to Stonewall, around two in five LGBT students have hidden their LGBT identity while studying for fear of reprisals.

The move follows in the footsteps of Birmingham University, which also offers a LGBT-only housing option to its first year students.

Celeste Jones, the Students’ Union Women’s Officer, said on Tuesday: “By no means is this accommodation compulsory, nor do we wish to encourage segregation, but we feel it is extremely important that our students have the choice of living in LGBT+ only accommodation if they so desire.

“The offer allows our students the choice of living with people from the LGBT+ community and offers a safe space for students to be themselves.

Celeste Jones / Sheffield Students’ Union

“Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected in their own homes and should be able to be themselves and we believe this will make a huge difference in our students’ lives.”

She added: “Even if just a tiny fraction of LGBT+ students feel this will benefit their University experience then we feel it is all entirely worthwhile.”

Several students and alumni of the university welcomed the move, while other social media users criticised it as ‘segregation’.

One said: “The accommodation is optional but will allow many students to feel included and safe during their time at uni.”

But another criticised the move, saying: “How sad that segregation has now become required, expected and wanted. A real step backwards if LGBT people feel they need this.”

Campaigns for LGBT-only accommodation have previously been launched at the University of York and the University of Central Lancashire, although neither currently offer an LGBT only housing option.

The decision to offer LGBT-only housing follows moves by universities to increasingly offer gender neutral toilets.