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What are the most LGBTQ-friendly colleges in the US?

LGBTQ-friendly colleges are critical for the safety and well-being of gay, lesbian, trans, and nonconforming young people, providing a safe space for queer young people, while helping prepare them for a workforce that is still frequently hostile.

Photo by Scott Webb from Unsplash.com

Considering going to school in the US of A?

Colleges and universities have long been the place where young people find themselves and their people, developing into the people they will be through the rest of their life. That has, historically, been particularly true of LGBTQ youth, who could go from unsupportive homes and communities to find a place where they are accepted for who they are.

Today, while society in general is more tolerant than in the past, college can still be a crucial place of safety and growth for LGBTQ young people. This is why College Consensus published its ranking of 25 LGBTQ-friendly colleges in the US.

“By highlighting institutions that make inclusiveness an intentional aspect of their education and community, (we) encourage students to find the place they will feel welcome, and urges schools to consider their own policies and culture,” the group said in a statement.

Institutions in the ranking were chosen based on the strength of their student organizations, institutional inclusiveness policies, and recognition by the Campus Pride Index.

While society in general is more tolerant than in the past, college can still be a crucial place of safety and growth for LGBTQ young people.
Photo by Janko Ferlič from Unsplash.com

The top 25 (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Augsburg University
  • Elon University
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • Ithaca College
  • Kansas State University
  • Lehigh University
  • Macalester College
  • Montclair State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Portland State University (tied)
  • Princeton University
  • Rutgers University
  • San Diego State University
  • Southern Oregon University (tied)
  • The Ohio State University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Massachusetts
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
  • Washington State University

“For decades, colleges and universities have been at the vanguard of culture, whether that meant protecting artistic expression or giving young people a forum to voice their political views.” However, for LGBTQ students, inclusive policies “can truly be a matter of life or death,” particularly as discrimination and hate crimes are still prevalent in many communities.

“LGBTQ-friendly colleges are critical for the safety and well-being of gay, lesbian, trans, and nonconforming young people,” the editors explained, providing “a safe space for queer young people, while helping prepare them for a workforce that is still frequently hostile.”

While ranking the most LGBTQ Friendly Colleges is somewhat subjective, College Consensus chose their criteria carefully: “a vocal and well-promoted campus pride organization is a clear sign” of acceptance, at least in the campus community, since many are student-led groups. The other level of impact is in official institutional policy: “inclusive language in their student handbook; gender inclusive housing (or gender neutral housing); explicit non-discrimination policies (for instance, women’s colleges that are openly welcoming to trans women).”

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