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Resources and Support for LGBTQ College Students

19 Sep 2019

Recent surveys demonstrate a positive tendency that now takes place in American society: more minority group representatives than ever before getting access to high-quality education. This is true not only for racial minorities but also for gender-identity and sexual-orientation minority groups. For instance, the American College Health Association found that out of 33,000 undergraduate students, 10% identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, or questioning. This tendency is very beneficial for minority communities as well as the country in general because talented and well-educated people promote the development and overall wellbeing.

Although nowadays more LGBTQ young people attend colleges, they still remain a minority group that largely experiences discrimination and oppression. Thus, a recent study of the Association of American University (AAU) showed that 3 in 4 LGBTQ college students experienced sexual harassment at least once. Unfortunately, the latest surveys prove that representatives of this minority group are more likely to be harassed and bullied both physically and online than representatives of other groups, particularly than heterosexual students. While some progress is obvious, there are still many concerns to address for the benefit of LGBTQ students.

How to Find LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges?

So, how can interested students find LGBTQ-friendly colleges? The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to consult The Campus Pride Index. The Campus Pride is a national organization that promotes safe college environments since 2001. Although it started as a small online community many years ago, nowadays it has grown into a massive movement that promotes the idea of inclusive college campuses across the nation. This organization not only provides students with all the relevant information regarding their individual rights and major responsibilities of the US colleges but also introduces the concept of the Campus Pride Index. According to this Index, there are eight major factors that make college environment LGBTQ-friendly. So in order to choose the best college, students should make sure it meets the following basic requirements.

While these factors are particularly important to consider while choosing LGBTQ-friendly colleges, students should mind other characteristics as well. They may have some individual expectations and requirements too. For instance, some students may require the presence of an off-campus supportive community in which they can stay upon graduation. Others can seek colleges that introduce special scholarships for LGBTQ students. Indeed, this may be rather relevant given that some LGBTQ young people loose family financial support after coming out. Finally, for some students, the geographic location of college may be one of the deciding factors because of the family- or job-related concerns.

List of LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges

Here is a list of top 10 LGBTQ-friendly colleges currently available to students. They are chosen based on eight earlier listed factors, which means that each of these institutions has a high Campus Pride Index. However, when making their final choice, students should also consider their individual expectations and requirements pertaining to price, location, or desired major among others.

Augsburg University

Its campus feels like home. The college promotes intentional gender-neutral language, gender-neutral dorms and restrooms, and explicit non-discrimination policies.

Princeton University

In addition to non-discrimination policies, students can participate in numerous LGBTQ-related events, including “Welcome Back BBQ,” “Out in STEM,” “Being LGBTQIA at Princeton,” or “The Color Q’llective” among others.

Kansas State University

Here, students can join a powerful LGBTQ Resource Center that supports them, creating a welcoming and accepting environment.

The Ohio State University

There is a large LGBTQ community. University provides students with an access to high-quality healthcare and wellness services. Also, LGBTQ students can participate in numerous on- and off-campus events.

San Diego State University

Its Pride Center ensures inclusion, providing support and unique opportunities to LGBTQ students.

Portland State University

Queer Resource Center offers resources and programming that support LGBTQ students. These address the academic, social, and individual needs of every student.

University of Kentucky

LGBTQ resources aimed at promoting education, advocacy, and community building, while working to decrease marginalization in all forms.

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

LGBTQ Resource Center provides programs and workshops enabling students to get involved.

Washington State University

One of only four universities in the Pacific Northwest that strives to create a supportive environment for LGBTQ students.

University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Its Pride Center identifies and responds to the concerns and needs of LGBTQ students and staff.

Useful Sources for Representatives of LGBTQ Community

No matter which educational institution students choose, they can always access national online resources for additional support. There are many programs that aim at promoting positive dialogue between the LGBTQ community and the heterosexual majority.

Raising Awareness

In order to transform communities into safe and supportive environments, it is important to highlight and discuss challenges, issues, peculiarities, along with concerns of LGBTQ people. By educating communities and raising people’s awareness, the following organizations contribute to development of not only inclusive education but also a truly diverse society in general:

  • GLAAD – Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation works with various news sources to bring LGBTQ community stories into public attention, thus supporting equality.
  • GLSEN – Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network aims at ensuring that members of school communities feel accepted, supported, respected disregarding their sexual orientation.
  • It Gets Better Project – this nonprofit organization helps LGBTQ youth find support, combating social isolation.
  • Human Rights Campaign – this organization fights for the civil rights of representatives of the LGBTQ community. It educates the public about LGBTQ issues, introducing numerous projects and programs that support LGBTQ people across families and communities.

Education-Related Efforts

  • GSA Club – a student-run organization that unites LGBTQ and allied youth in an effort to create supportive communities and educational environments.
  • Johnson Family Foundation – It promotes equality, social progress, equal education, supporting youth by providing grants.
  • National LGBTQ Task Force – this is an organization that trains and mobilizes activists whose purpose is to promote the rights of LGBTQ people across the nation.
  • PFLAG – this organization aims at educating communities and building a world where diversity is celebrated.

Addressing Legal Aspects

  • Transgender Law Center – this is one of the largest national trans-led organizations that aims at protecting the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming people by providing them with relevant legal information and running various nationwide programs.
  • Forge – federally funded national transgender anti-violence organization that provides support, educates, and advocates for the rights of transgender individuals.
  • National Center for Transgender Equality – this organization promotes social justice for transgender people.

Religious Inclusion

  • Religious Institute – a multifaith organization that advocates for sexual and reproductive health, justice, and education in faith communities and society in general.
  • The NALT Christians Project – Christians involved in this project support LGBTQ people.

Anti-Suicide Efforts

LGBTQ young people are more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Such an unfortunate tendency occurs because LGBTQ youth has special needs that are not met as easily as those of mainstream youth. For instance, not all communities within provide access to specialized psychological help or create environments that protect LGBTQ youth from prejudiced comments regarding their gender identity or sexual orientation. Minority status coupled with discrimination and oppression contributes to higher suicide rate among LGBTQ young adults, but the following programs aim at changing this tendency by providing professional support along with welcoming and understanding environment for those in need:

  • The Trevor Project – this national organization provides immediate help to LGBTQ youth in crisis.
  • Trans Lifeline – this national organization is dedicated to responding to the critical needs of the LGBTQ community.
  • SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline – this national advocacy organization supports LGBT elders, addressing their unique needs.
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – this voluntary health organization creates a nationwide community empowered by research and advocacy, supporting those affected by suicide.

While mentioned organizations are placed into categories, it is important to clarify that many of them support numerous projects that affect different experiences and life-aspects of representatives of the LGBTQ community. So, no matter what your needs or ideas are, you can reach for support to any of the listed organizations.

All Americans disregarding their sexual orientation or gender identity should be able to access high-quality education and live through the best college years without any oppression or discrimination. By choosing LGBTQ-friendly colleges and joining national organizations that promote the rights of the LGBTQ community, we can build a better future and a truly diverse society.