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WKU introduces LGBT-friendly dorms

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Illustration by Hannah Good

When Colby Wicker, a Fort Knox sophomore, came out to his mother as transgender last August, she kicked him out of her house and cut him off financially. The fall semester had not yet started, but left with no place to go, he returned to campus early. He contacted Natalie Smith, the coordinator of Bemis Lawrence Hall, and she allowed him to move into his new dorm early.

Because he was presenting as a female at the time, he moved into Bemis, a gender-segregated, all-female dorm, and was assigned a female roommate. He had short hair and dressed in masculine clothes, and he said many of the residents on his floor would stare at him in the hallway, whisper comments when he walked by or leave the bathroom when he entered.

“No one really respected me on that floor,” he said. “Having just been disowned, I felt like I deserved to be treated as I am.”

Wicker had also recently started hormone replacement therapy. He performed his testosterone self-injections in his dorm — his only private space — and sometimes had to do so in front of his roommate.

“It was really awkward for me to do my self-injections and explain that I’m actually a man to a floor full of girls who did not understand,” Wicker said.

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