A NEW shelter for homeless young people is taking an innovative approach to gender, WA Today has reported.

Rockingham Y-Shac is allowing people to choose where they are housed according to where they are comfortable, rather than enforcing male and female wings.

Manager Rieki Rolle said the new shelter’s approach is breaking from the traditional system of gender segregation to accommodate changing attitudes about gender.

“Previously, and in most crisis hostels, there were three bedrooms on one side of the house and three on the other, and you either identified as male or female,” she said.

“But because there are more and more young people who are presenting as non-gender or not identifying as the gender placed on the birth certificate, each young person is respected for who they are and what it is they’re seeking at that present moment.”

Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said Anglicare WA was behind the non–gender specific facility, a decision that was based on past experience.

“They’re in the business of caring and dealing with the youth, and in the past they’ve looked at having separate facilities for males and female and they’ve obviously changed that decision,” said Sammels.

“They’re the professionals and their decision would have been made on all the evidence that’s been presented to them in the past.”

Youth homelessness is a significant issue in Perth—and around Australia—with about 4 per cent of young people in Perth sleeping rough.

LGBTI people are at greater risk of experiencing homelessness than the general population.

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