According to some studies, around 17% of all incoming college students identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or some other gender or sexual minority. Whether you’re planning ahead for college or already on campus, it’s important to find a supportive community to help you learn and grow safely and comfortably, both now and after graduation.
Searching for LGBTQ+-Friendly Colleges and Communities
Choosing a college is a daunting task for anyone, but it can pose extra challenges for LGBTQ+ students. You don’t just need to find a school that’s a good academic fit and offers extracurricular activities you’re interested in: You also want to make sure to find that a campus that’s safe, welcoming, and supportive. Fortunately, most mainstream colleges and universities understand the importance of making sure all students feel safe and supported.
- Top LGBTQ-Friendly Universities in the World: International students and American students pondering going to school abroad will find this global list useful.
- Campus Pride’s Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities: Campus Pride also produces its own list of queer-friendly universities.
- 50 Great LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges: Read about how schools make sure that LGBTQ+ students are treated fairly by staff and other students.
- The Best College for LGBTQ+ Students in Each State: BestColleges partnered with Campus Pride to produce this list of accepting colleges across the country.
- Best LGBTQ Schools: The 50 best schools for LGBTQ+ students are listed here.
- LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges: Industry giant the Princeton Review also produces a list of the most welcoming colleges nationwide.
- Ten of the Most LGBTQ-Friendly U.S. Universities: Here are ten of the most accepting schools nationwide.
- Gay-Friendly Colleges: These schools offer a thriving campus life for gay students.
Beyond campus, it’s important to carve out a community for yourself. For students of faith, that includes finding a church or other religious home you feel comfortable with. Other students might prioritize meeting other members of the LGBTQ+ community to form friendships with people outside of college and find possible mentors. Many students also want to find events and other ways to form connections off-campus.
- CenterLink LGBT Community Center Member Directory: CenterLink provides a worldwide guide to LGBT community centers.
- How to Find LGBTQ+ Friends and Your Own Community: Making friends outside of the classroom is hard, but this guide can give you ideas for how to find like-minded people.
- How to Find Your Local LGBT Community Center: Pride.com offers a listing of LGBT community centers nationwide.
- LGBTQ+ Festivals and Events: Many students want to take part in LGBTQ+ events outside of campus, and this listing can help you find ones nearby.
- Events Celebrating LGBT Identity, Expression, and Well-Being: Youth.gov provides this listing of events nationwide.
- Joining an A-Spec Community: Read these tips for finding asexual and/or aromantic people in your community.
- Find an Affirming Church: If you’re religious, check this list to find welcoming churches nationwide.
- How to Find a Church That Offers a Safe Space for LGBTQ People:This article offers ideas on how to find a welcoming, safe religious home.
LGBTQ+ students need the same support as all other students, but as a group, they also have individual needs. Finding a welcoming support group is important for many students. Locally, many schools offer gay-straight alliances and pride groups. There are also a plethora of online resources to help you find a local group or connect with other people online.
- How to Start a Gay-Straight Alliance: Many schools already offer a gay-straight alliance, but this information can help you start one if there isn’t one on your campus.
- True Colors United: True Colors United works to help LGBTQ+ youth who are experiencing homelessness.
- LGBTribe: This peer-to-peer support group offers help from those facing similar life issues.
- Support and Discussion Groups: From Arab-American LGBT people to LGBTQ+ people in AA, this site offers a variety of specialized support groups, many of which meet online using Zoom or Discord.
- LGBT Chat Rooms: Find support for LGBT teens in these moderated chats.
Anti-Bullying Resources for LGBTQ+ Students
Bullying is a real concern for LGBTQ+ teens and young adults. In 2017, 33% of LGBTQ+ students surveyed reported being bullied at school, and 27% reported experiencing cyberbullying. Meanwhile, 17.1% of heterosexual students said they were bullied at school, and 13.3% said they had been bullied online. It’s important to know that if this happens to you, you’re not alone, and there are resources that can help you.
- Trevor Project: Support for Students: The Trevor Project’s goal is to prevent suicide among the LGBTQ+ population.
- Bullying and LGBT Youth: The government runs this website aimed at stopping bullying.
- LGBTQ+ Bullying: No student should feel unsafe at school. This website looks at the issues surrounding LGBTQ+ bullying.
- LBGT Students Are Not Safe at School: The Atlantic studies the issue of bullying LGBTQ+ students.
- LGBTQ Youth of Color: Discipline Disparities, School Push-Out, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline: This document looks at how the effects of bullying harm LGBTQ students and how racism makes the problem even worse for queer students of color.
- How School Bullying Impacts Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Young Adults: The Frances McClelland Institute reports on research looking at the impact of bullying on LGBT students and young adults.
- Family Acceptance Project: FAP supports the mental health of LGBTQ+ students and families of all cultures and religions.
- Coming Out as Trans: The Trans Youth Equality Foundation provides support for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students and their families across the country.
- The Asexual’s Field Guide to the Sexual World: College is often a time when students explore and embrace their sexuality, but this can leave asexual students feeling alienated.
- How to Support Transgender Youth in Your Life: This site offers help for those in the lives of transgender youth.
- Nonbinary Inclusion: The LGBT Foundation discusses nonbinary identities and how nonbinary people can find community.
- InterConnect: If you’re intersex, you’re not alone. You can find information and support here.
- Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation: GLAAD works to improve LGBTQ+ acceptance and awareness.
- Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network: GLSEN is focused on improving the school experience of LGBTQ+ youth and young adults.
- LGBTQ Student Scholarship Database: The Human Rights Campaign has compiled a list of scholarships available to LGBTQ students.
- Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund: Lambda Legal helps LGBTQ+ individuals when they need legal help with discrimination cases.
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