The Search for an LGBTQ Friendly College

There’s a great article in Newsweek this week on one student’s search for an LGBTQ friendly college campus.  It is often assumed that once young people are free of high school, that the traditionally liberal atmosphere of a college will be safer and better.  However, many students are demanding more than just being “tolerated”.  Many are looking for an active, political LGBTQ community, with supportive instructors, administration and classes that acknowledge and deal with LGBTQ issues.

gay-college1In college, the Queer Alliance was an amazing resource for me to find other out students, and to begin to think of  sexual orientation beyond myself — as a political, educational and activist matter.  Some of my fellow students have gone on to be amazing activists, writers, and educators in their own rights. You deserve to go to school at a place where sexual orientation is at the least, a non-issue, and at the most, studied, accepted, organized around, and even celebrated.

Some tips to help you get started:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask in your interview or even before about how LGBTQ friendly the campus is.
  • Look for LGBTQ-related organizations on campus and call or email them to find out what the atmosphere is like.  Many of them have pages on Facebook or Myspace now.
  • Look at the course catalog:  how many courses on feminism, LGBTQ history, LGBTQ literature or queer theory are there?  You could consider contacting the instructors who teach those courses to ask their opinion about the college’s track record on LGBTQ issues.
  • Find archives of the campus newspaper and look for letters to the editor, events, talks, groups or articles on the LGBTQ community.

Other resources:

The Advocate Magazine’s article on queer friendly colleges

A New York Times article on queer friendly colleges

Campus Pride

Campus Climate Index

The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students, a book available from The National Consortium of LGBT Resource Professionals

Remember, you’re looking for a place to call home for the next few years.  And, even if you look into a school that isn’t as queer friendly as you need, the fact that you asked them will alert the school of their need to accommodate savvy LGBTQ students in the future.

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