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Years ago when I enrolled at the University of North Carolina, I arrived on the campus and to my delight I found I had been assigned to the first ever co-ed dormitory. Then, my first night on campus, at orientation the powers that be introduced us to the wonders of birth control. We were all summoned to the lobby of the dormitory where they set up rows of tables lined with exhibits of every kind of birth control imaginable along with how-to manuals and free samples.
 
In a second room off the lobby, in case anyone had missed the practical benefits of birth control, they had set up rows of tables with exhibits depicting the horrors of abortion – they’d lined the tables with old, grainy black and white photographs of abortion mills in garages and blood-soaked sheets and, on a final table, a pair of black metal forceps that looked like they’d been used in a blacksmith shop to forge horseshoes.
 
As I left the room my roommate glanced back at the rows of tables and said, They included everything but a mouse on a string.
 
Last week, continuing its tradition of progress, the university proudly announced that this fall for the first time students will be able to live in ‘gender-neutral’ housing – which means girls and boys can now live together in on-campus apartments and suites.
 
The reason for this latest advancement is straightforward: A group of students convinced the powers that be that gay students would be more comfortable living with female friends and that transgender students would be happier if they could choose their roommates based on the gender they identify with.
 
Chancellor Holden Thorpe says it all makes sense to him and, looking back, I can’t help but wonder why we never figured out telling the fussy ole’ Chancellor Carlyle Sitterson that, to be fair to gay and transgender students, he ought to let us room with the co-eds. I guess we never dreamed any Chancellor – or at least any Chancellor raised in North Carolina – would be crazy enough to believe us.
 
 
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