For LHBTQ students, choosing the right college is about more than having access to quality majors and to sports facilities on campus. According to a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force poll, nearly 20 percent of the LGBTQ students and faculty members have feared about their safety on campus. Nearly 43 percent experienced a campus climate that can be defined as homophobic.
Many academic institutions have taken steps to deal with such issues and create a safe, diversified environment. Here are some of the top colleges that LGBTQ students should consider enrolling in during the 2017/18 academic year.
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania has reached the top of multiple charts in terms of best colleges for LGBTQ students. For a start, the university has a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center that offers peer mentorship, socialization spaces and a calendar of events. The center is actually one of the oldest LGBTQ organizations in the country and it’s been active for a period of 30 years.
The university has undertaken a couple of great additional steps. An online database has been created for the purpose of enabling students to self-identify themselves.
University of Pennsylvania frequently hosts lectures and events that highlight the struggles that the LGBTQ community goes through. Some of the past memorable events include a lecture about the history of the LGBTQ movement, meetings for students that have transgender parents, lectures on asexuality, representation and LGBTQ civil rights.
Ithaca College is a close runner up when it comes to creating the perfect environment for LGBTQ students and faculty members.
In 2001, the college saw the establishment of its Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services. The aim of the center is to assist the personal and academic growth of LGBTQ students. The center has its own office, resource room, training workshops and campus-wide education programs.
Ithaca College hosts numerous events and lectures that highlight the struggles and the needs of people belonging to LGBTQ minorities. Some of the past events held at the university include LGBT awareness month, the rainbow reception, gay prom and a film fest called Out of the Closet and onto the Screen.
Finally, students that have questions and doubts about their identity can work with the university’s mentors to get more clarity and works towards becoming more comfortable with themselves.
Oberlin College has a long history of advocating for LGBTQ rights both on campus and outside of the academic institution. Students have access to diversified LGBTQ resources.
On top of that, the college has a number of LGBTQ organizations. Lambda Union is responsible for organizing and funding numerous political and social events, as well as educational series about the rights of minorities. Kinsey 1-5 is a group for people who have undefined sexuality or who simply feel that they’re different. Queer Peers is all about tolerance and teaching people about acceptance. These are just three of the Oberlin LGBTQ organizations. All of them have websites, giving students access to additional resources.
To top it all off, the college organizes awareness events on a regular basis. Lectures, movie screenings, discussions and performances are all aimed at giving students an opportunity to learn a bit more about the LGBTQ community.
University of Michigan
Here’s yet another US university that has one of the most LGBTQ-friendly campuses. University of Michigan has its Spectrum Center that’s responsible for raising awareness and organizing a series of on-campus events.
The center provides education and training in the form of workshops, seminars, panels and educational programs. It also gives students access to a wide array of resources about race and ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, HIV testing and being a transgender person.
University of Michigan is recognized for the fact that it was the academic institution to establish the first LGBT resource center back in 1971. It also has an Ally Development Program that trains anyone who’s interested in tolerance and understanding the experience of people who describe themselves as LGBTQ.
The university website features an LGBTQ dictionary that gives students even more information about concepts that they may have very limited understanding of.
These aren’t the only LGBTQ-friendly campuses in the US. A few other universities that put a lot of emphasis on equal rights and creating a favorable experience for their students include Emory University, Duke University, University of Washington, Williams College, Amherst College and University of California – Los Angeles.