9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students

9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students

It should go without saying that everybody, regardless of beliefs, background, or circumstances in life, should have the right to a safe and enriching college experience. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, intersex, questioning, or anywhere else on the spectrum. According to a survey conducted by GLSEN, a little over 80% of LGBTQ+ students reported being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and a little over 60% reported feeling unsafe at school. These statistics are associated with detrimental academic and mental health outcomes, including missing school and even dropping out of school. While college campuses still have a long way to go in creating an inclusive and safe climate for LGBTQ+ students, significant progress has been made over the past decades. Discussed below are 9 colleges that stand out in their efforts to promote a positive campus culture for LGBTQ+ students.

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_UCLA-300x200 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ StudentsUniversity of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA:

UCLA’s location in Los Angeles, one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities in the world, certainly plays a role in creating a safe and positive campus culture. The campus has over 20 LGBTQ+ student organizations. The LGBT Campus Resource Center provides counseling, advocacy, electronic resources, and education to all students about LGBTQ+-related issues. The Center’s library, one of the largest of its kind on any college campus, has almost 4000 books and periodicals for and about LGBTQ+ people. In addition, there are a number of “affinity spaces” on campus where you can hang out with students who identify as LGBTQ+ and allies. Social events on campus include “Cookies & Queers” and the Annual LGBT Fall Resource Fair. Another campus resource is Rainbow Connection, a confidential chat line that connects students with trained peer mentors. UCLA is home to the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy. As an undergrad, you can pursue an interdisciplinary minor in LGBT studies, which consists of seven courses.

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_UMass-300x200 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ StudentsUniversity of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA:

Like UCLA, UMass is located in queer-friendly area. One of its greatest resources is the Stonewall Center, where students have access to free and confidential HIV and STI testing, bulletin board kits for residence assistance, ally training, and career services. Every year, the Stonewall Center sends students to the Queer & Trans People of Color Conference. It also publishes a newsletter called Queer-e. UMass has the nation’s oldest LGBTQA residence hall program, which includes a Gender-Inclusive Housing residential community, the Spectrum Floor, and housing assignments for trans students. All new faculty members are trained on the nuances of sexual orientation and gender expression. UMass’s partnership with four other colleges allows students to earn a certificate in Queer and Sexuality Studies.

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_OhioState-300x238 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ StudentsOhio State University, Columbus, OH:

Ohio State has a number of “Q*mmunities” on campus, including the “Spiritual Q*mmunity,” the “Students of Color Q*mmunity,” and the “First Year Q*mmunity,” giving LGBTQ+ students from all walks of life a safe space to learn and hang out. Several celebrations take place on campus for Transgender Awareness Week and LGBTQ History Month. The Multicultural Center at Ohio State offers LGBTQ+ program initiatives, including a speaker series, film screenings, and skill-building workshops. Ohio State has a full Sexuality Studies Department, where students can pursue a major or minor. The department offers classes on a wide range of topics, including the history of modern sexuality, adolescent parenthood, and the literature of James Baldwin and Audre Lorde.

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_WSU-300x200 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ StudentsWashington State University, Pullman, WA:

According to Campus Pride’s report card, WSU earned perfect scores in policy inclusion, institutional commitment, student life, housing and residence life, campus safety, and recruitment and prevention efforts. The Gender Identity, Expression, and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC) at WSU promotes “education, empowerment, and engagement” for LGBTQ+ students and allies. Every Tuesday, GIESORC hosts a Student OUTreach social. It also offers educational brochures, scholarships for LGBTQ+ students, a mentor program, support groups, ally training, health coverage, sororities and fraternities, alumni groups, study programs, career services, and gender-inclusive housing. WSU started a program called “It Starts Now,” which encourages new students to embrace their gender identities and sexualities in a safe, non-threatening environment.

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_UW-300x200 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ StudentsUniversity of Washington, Seattle, WA:

The Q Center at UW aims to “facilitate and enhance a brave, affirming, liberatory, and celebratory environment for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of all sexual and gender orientations, identities, and expressions.” The Center hosts mentoring programs and “Safe Zone” trainings along with various social events throughout the year. “Dear Queer” is the Q Center’s anonymous advice blog for students who have questions or concerns. It also publishes a quarterly newsletter called QMMUNITY. On campus, you will find gender-neutral housing, bathrooms, and locker rooms, social clubs, discussion groups, and even easy access to name and gender change both within the university and the state. Students can major or minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies and take classes on such topics as indigenous feminism, queer health, and gender and sports. The Q Center even offers a 2-credit Queer 101 focus group through the Comparative History of Ideas Department.

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_SDSU-300x208 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ StudentsSan Diego State University, San Diego, CA:

SDSU’s Pride Center hosts a variety of programs, events, and resources, including Trans Talk, LGBTQ Movie Night, career counseling, healthcare assistance, and academic advising. The Pride Center also connects students with local and regional community resources, such as the Transgender Center of San Diego, PFlag, and the Lambda Archives, a center that works to college, preserve, and teach LGBTQ+ history. There are a number of LGBTQ+ sororities and fraternities, student organizations, and living spaces on campus as well as scholarships for LGBTQ+ students. SDSU has the continent’s second-oldest LGBT Studies Department, where students can pursue a major or minor. SDSU’s Lavender Graduation Ceremony is open to all students who identify as LGBTQA.

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_IndianaU-300x187 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ StudentsIndiana University, Bloomington, IN:

There are 11 LGBTQIA & Ally student groups at Indiana University, as well as the Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity and the Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority. Resources on campus for LGBTQ+ students and their friends and families include the GLBT Student Support Services Office, QNews, the LGBTQ+ Library, the LGBTQ+ Culture Center, and the GLBT Alumni Association. The campus has several safe spaces and safe zones, ally training programs, safe housing for all gender expressions, loans and grants available for LGBTQ+ students, and a campus safety department committed to preventing LGBTQ+-related crimes and incidents. Students can also take classes in queer studies and gender studies.

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_UofO-300x200 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ StudentsUniversity of Oregon, Eugene, OR:

UOUT is OU’s LGBTQ+ resource center. It offers scholarships as well as information on health, counseling, coming out, gender identity, and more. One of the programs on campus is Bridges Panels, which facilitates dialogue and understanding about the lived experiences of people who identify as LGBTQ+. UO participates in the School for International Training Program on Sexuality, Gender, and Identity held in Amsterdam in the Fall and Spring semesters. In addition, the campus has a strong queer-ally coalition and several student groups, including Outlaw for law students, Queer Students of Color, Sappho for queer women, and Theta Pi Sigma, which aims to foster positive leadership, change, philanthropy, and growth in the trans ad communities at UO.

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_Upenn-300x200 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ StudentsUniversity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA:

Penn received nearly perfect scores on Campus Pride’s report card. It excels in the health, housing, student life, and campus safety sectors. The LGBT Center at Penn allows students to hang out, participate in workshop and outreach programs, connect with mentors, apply for travel fund assistance, make a name change, and get involved with one of the 25+ LGBTQ+ student organizations on campus. Students have access to gender-neutral housing and bathrooms. In addition, the university’s comprehensive health plan gives trans students access to gender-affirming hormone therapy, sensitive gynecological and sexual care, and referrals to local surgeons, endocrinologists, and trans-competent providers.

If any of these colleges sound interesting to you and you want to learn more from current students and alumni, you can do so on Konversai. Konversai is a global knowledge platform that allows for one-on-one live video conversations between anyone, anywhere, about anything. The platform brings together providers of knowledge with seekers of knowledge and enables mutually beneficial connections and conversations. Knowledge providers can make money sharing anything and everything they know, all on their own time and from the comfort of their home. Knowledge seekers can choose from a selection of knowledge providers based on their personal needs and preferences and can enjoy a tailored one-on-one session on exactly what they want to learn. Whether it’s college life, academics, travel, cooking, sewing, dancing, sports, languages, resume writing, interview prep, or something else entirely, Konversai has something for everybody. Join in on the fun today!

Written by: Pavita Singh

InfoBlog_16_CollegesForLGBTQ_pic2-768x512 9 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students


Best Colleges. Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students.

Best Value Schools. 25 Best Value Colleges for LGBTQ Students in 2017-2018.

College Choice. (2017). 50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students.

Kratsas, Gabrielle. 50 Great LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges. Great Value Colleges.


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