"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

20 March 2012


So I'm seeing Grinnell College popping up from time to time in the media for their new domestic experiment... Gender neutral dorms. Not co-ed, Grinnell has been doing that for ages, but dorms for those who don't want to identify as male or female. Roommates may be assigned or chosen from the whole spectrum of gender-dom. And Grinnell has allotted 10% of their dorm space as gender neutral.

Here's a statemetn from the college:

Grinnell College provides gender neutral housing to students for whom traditional, same sex room assignments are not ideal. This may include students who opt to participate in a community where the gender binary is not perpetuated. The College is proud that over 10% of the residence hall rooms are assigned as gender neutral. This option is offered in all areas of campus (and in traditional residence hall rooms, houses, and apartments).

Admitted students (incoming first-years) who prefer a gender neutral living environment should reference this in their Housing Form, which will be filled out on Pioneer Web once you are admitted to the College. If you do, you will be paired with a roommate based on your personal attributes and characteristics, and not specifically by gender.

Returning students who prefer gender neutral housing can contact Andrea Conner or Laura Gogg in Residence Life & Orientation before Room Draw in Spring semester to discuss their needs. Alternately, gender neutral options will be available in the regular Room Draw process, without having to go through any steps to attain these spaces.

Now Grinnell has always been a little, um, cutting edge on the sexuality thing. Apparently neutral locker rooms are also being added to the mix. And I've read that its considered impolite to assume someone's gender is what it appears to be, at least it is considered impolite in Grinnell circles.

So what does this matter to you?

Well, I graduated from Grinnell in 1995. It was a big leap from the Bible Belt to Grinnell, where bisexuality was cool, polyamory was beginning to be accepted. But as soon as I left college I understood that what I saw at Grinnell was what would follow in our culture. Grinnell 1995 looks a lot like USA 2012 (although I suspect most of USA 2012 isn't as familiar with polyamory (take the word apart, poly is many, amor is love... but don't google it).

If my theory holds, the Grinnell of my children's generation (not that I'd send my kids there if tuition money fell in abunance from the sky) is the USA of my grandchildren's. Pay close attention.


  1. Sorry. They seem to be a little behind. In this brave new world of ours, is gender binary? Does Schori know?

  2. No, in the eyes of folks at places like Grinnell gender is not binary, rather it is more of a spectrum, a matter of identiy rather than biology. The very language of gender breaks down when you enter into these unspoken redefinitions, but that's what is going on.

  3. Imagine. Analog gender. Who knew? Grinnell, that's who!