I am a non-binary person and I would like to attend UoGuelph in the future. I have heard that Guelph is a queer friendly place, but I’m concerned by what I’ve been able to find so far. For example, I was unable to sign up for the admissions email list (here: https://admission.uoguelph.ca/UserDetails.aspx) because it asks for a binary title of adderess as a mandatory field, and I’ve read on Ask Outline that even the co-ed dorms are gender segregated.
Will I be able to complete an application without indicating a binary gender? Are the residences an option for me? Are there bathrooms on campus that I can use? Am I really the first genderqueer person to want to attend Guelph?
Thanks so much for coming to Ask OUTline for an answer to your questions, and for considering UoG as your potential post-secondary school of choice!
You’re definitely correct in that Guelph has a reputation of being a queer-friendly place, and, in my experience (having gone to school/lived here for the past 10 years), lives up to that overall. Of course there are people and instances that unfortunately don’t align with this, but that’s one of the reasons OUTline operates 🙂 On campus we also have the Office of Diversity & Human Rights, which administers all UoG policies pertaining to human rights and should be contacted if something does not uphold these rights.
Now, let’s get to your important concerns!
We reached out to the Office of Registrarial Services (ORS) for a response to your inquiries about their gendered email list. Here’s what they had to say:
“We’ve historically required certain fields to ensure that we can match our communication history with a prospective student to the application for admission that’s provided by the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) should the student apply at a future point. Gender is currently a required field and only provides the binary options.
“The Ontario university sector did undertake a review of these options, however, this past year. Guelph was on the working group leading this change. When the new applications for admission open this fall, students will see there are 3 options to choose from in identifying gender – ‘male’, ‘female, and ‘another gender identity’; the field is also being made optional. Given these changes, we will be modifying the related fields on the Admission Services website this summer.”
So it seems like applying to the UoG without indicating a binary gender will soon be possible!
We also contacted Student Housing Services (SHS) about your questions related to residences, and this was their reply:
“All of our residence communities have the capacity to accommodate students who identify as transgender, genderqueer or who prefer not to identify at all. The exception to this is Watson Hall, which is all-female.”
“In terms of gender neutral washrooms, there are a few options. Lambton Hall washroom[s] are truly all-gender, as they are private. The student closes the door to the washroom, which includes a shower, toilet and sink. All students share access to the private washrooms. In some of our other halls, such as East Apartments, the suites are co-ed and there are two sets of split washrooms (two toilet/sink rooms and two shower rooms). Residents of the suite can use one or both.
“Residence assignments are gender-segregated in different ways based on the architecture of the building or washroom location. They are not gender-segregated by floor, but some buildings have a higher concentration of one gender or another closer to the male or female washroom. We don’t have a design for gender ratios per floor – it is determined by the number of applicants in combination with the outcome of the room assignment lottery.”
TLDR: Residences are an option for you and other non-binary students, since some are truly co-ed and have gender-neutral washrooms. As for other gender-neutral washrooms on campus, be sure to check out the list we’re continually updating here.
If you require a room assignment in one of these co-ed residences, it may be best to fill out a Special Consideration Form, found here, explaining why. You do not need to provide any additional information besides this Form (i.e. letter of support) unless specifically asked by Student Housing Services staff.
And finally, you’re definitely not the first genderqueer student to attend or want to attend Guelph, and if you do choose to attend this University (or any, for that matter) you will find that you are not alone! Be sure to check out this blog post about ways to connect with the LGBTQ2IA+ community here at Guelph during the Fall and Winter semesters to meet more NB students.
I wish you all the best with your future education, wherever it may be!