Universities across the UK will start offering separate accommodation for gay and trans students starting courses in September.
According to Mail Online, at least seven institutions have flats or accommodation blocks reserved only for LGBTQ+ undergraduates, including leading Russell Group universities.
Critics have condemned the move, describing it as social segregation and that it was ‘patronizing’ to think that homosexual students wanted their own halls.
Education campaigners also raised concerns that the decision could contribute to a shortage of student housing after it emerged unfilled rooms at LGBTQ+ halls are being left empty rather than offered to heterosexual students.
Sheffield, Cardiff, Bristol, Bath, Southampton, Southampton Solent, and Essex universities said they have introduced the measure to keep LGBTQ+ students safe from ‘homophobia, biphobia and transphobia’ by straight flatmates.
Kate Barker, of gay rights charity LGB Alliance, said: ‘Learning to live alongside people from different backgrounds and with different outlooks is one of the most important lessons of the university.
‘LGB Alliance student networks tell us that these silly ideas are widely considered patronising to gay people and indeed to the whole student population. Experiencing difference is their priority, not narrowing their perspective.’
Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘It will likely create division and resentment within student communities.
‘Any restrictions on students from diverse backgrounds and orientations mixing together is a recipe for social disintegration among the student body. It does not benefit anyone, however well-intentioned it is.’
Essex University said the move was ‘welcoming and inclusive’ and that ‘it may be helpful to be with people who may have shared life experiences’.