About 17% of all college-bound students identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, and many of them have often encountered bullying and discrimination during their middle and high school years. All college students thrive in a community that meets their needs and provides opportunities for social and academic growth, and for LGBTQ+ students, this is even more important. You’ll need to find a college environment that prioritizes your safety and makes you feel welcome.
SEARCHING FOR LGBTQ-FRIENDLY COLLEGES AND COMMUNITIES
LGBTQ+ students have extra considerations when starting the college search. Like all students, you need to find a school that offers majors you’re interested in and has extra-curricular activities you want to participate in, but you also need to find a school with a supportive and welcoming campus culture. The good news is that colleges are emphasizing being a safe, supportive place for all students more than ever. However, some schools are especially good at supporting LGBTQ+ students. Make sure to evaluate campuses carefully so you can feel confident that you’ll be offered appropriate support.
- The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students: Best Colleges considered issues like health care, housing, and student groups when compiling this list.
- Campus Pride Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities: Campus Pride organizes its list by region, making it easy for you to find schools in your preferred part of the country.
- The Most LGBTQIA-Friendly Colleges and How to Find Yours: Along with providing a list of LGBTQ-friendly colleges, this article also explains how students can effectively evaluate how LGBTQ-friendly any campus is.
- LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges: Princeton Review named Agnes Scott College as the most LGBTQ-friendly college in the nation.
- Gay-Friendly Colleges: These colleges have a wealth of LGBTQ+ student groups.
- Top Ten Trans-Supportive Colleges and Universities in the U.S: If you’re trans, it’s especially important to find a school where you will feel welcome and safe.
- Worst List Names 180 Colleges That Are Unsafe for LGBTQ Students: These schools are ones LGBTQ+ students should consider avoiding.
Part of growing up and becoming more independent includes learning how to build a community. Many students will want to meet and network with older LGBTQ+ people so they can acquire mentors and envision what their lives might look like after they finish college. Finding a welcoming congregation may also be important if you’re religious.
- Affirming Church Directory: Religious people can locate a nearby church that is affirming and welcoming of LGBTQ+ individuals here.
- Keshet Equality Directory: Jewish LGBTQ+ people can find welcoming rabbis and synagogues here.
- How to Find a Church That Is Safe for LGBT People: Once you’ve found some churches that might be a good fit, consult this article for tips on how to ensure the church will truly be a safe place.
- CenterLink LGBT Community Center Member Directory: These centers are located across the United States.
- How to Find Your Local LGBT Community Center: Pride Publishing offers this guide to help people find a nearby LGBTQ+ community center.
- How to Find LGBTQ+ Friends and Your Own Community: It’s important to find like-minded people who understand the issues you face.
- Joining an Aspec Community: People who identify as asexual or aromantic can find support with these community resources.
- LGBTQ+ Festivals and Events: Events from around the globe are compiled here.
ANTI-BULLYING RESOURCES FOR LGBTQ+ STUDENTS
According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 32% of LGBTQ+ students reported being bullied on school grounds, versus 17% of students who identify as heterosexual, heteroromantic, and cisgender. Bullying is a real issue for LGBTQ+ students, and it’s important to have the resources you need to protect yourself. It’s also important that allies, parents, teachers, and school administrators understand the depth of the issue and develop plans for stopping bullying.
- Bullying and LGBT Youth: It’s important to understand the impact of bullying and how to protect LGBTQ+ students from bullying and discrimination.
- Creating Safer Spaces in Schools for LGBTQ Youth: The Trevor Project has actionable ideas that can help reduce bullying of LGBTQ+ students.
- LBGT Students Are Not Safe at School: Teachers and school staff often aren’t trained in how to help LGBTQ+ students who are being bullied, and that’s one major obstacle to stopping the bullying epidemic and making school a safe place for all kids.
- LGBTQIA Youth: Stop Bullying, a government initiative, discusses the bullying faced by LGBTQ+ students and the laws that protect them.
- Making Schools Safe for the LGBTQ+ Community: As many as 90% of LGBTQ+ teenagers have experienced being bullied. These tips can help keep all students safe.
- Title IX: An Imperfect but Vital Tool to Stop Bullying of LGBT Students: Title IX has issues but does offer legal protection to LGBTQ+ students.
Along with having the needs common to all students, LGBTQ+ students also have unique needs that require support. A common type of support group found on a lot of campuses is a gay-straight alliance. Schools that don’t currently have an active group can start one. There are also many off-campus support groups around the country as well as virtual groups that can help you find support wherever you are.
- How to Start a Gay-Straight Alliance: The ACLU provides concrete information for establishing a gay-straight alliance.
- LGBTribe: People who can’t attend in-person support groups can find community and resources in this virtual peer-to-peer support group.
- Support Hotlines: LGBTQ+ students can reach out for immediate support by using these resources at any time.
- Youth and Young Adult Groups: Support groups can have a wide focus or fill a more specific need, like serving LGBTQ+ youth who need to focus on developing stronger study skills.
- Youth Chat Room Lounge: The LGBT National Help Center provides these chat rooms where young people can find companionship and understanding.
OTHER LGBTQ+ RESOURCES
- The Asexual’s Field Guide to the Sexual World: People who don’t experience sexual attraction are sometimes perplexed by the language used by those who do.
- Coming Out as Trans to Parents, Family, Friends, and Loved Ones: Young trans people wrote this guide aimed at helping other young people.
- Family Acceptance Project: A supportive family is important for all young people, and this project is aimed at empowering families to provide the support their loved one needs.
- Intersex Youth: Intersex youth can feel lonely and like no one understands their lived experience.
- LGBTQ+ Glossary: The It Gets Better Project assembled this glossary of LGBTQ+ terms and what they mean.
- LGBTQ Youth Are 120% More Likely to Experience Homelessness: True Colors United works to end homelessness faced by LGBTQ youth.
- Nonbinary Inclusion: Sometimes, those who identify as nonbinary feel left out of conversations about transgender issues and sexuality.
- Providing Services and Supports for Youth Who Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, or Two-Spirit: This resource is aimed at policymakers and resource providers, but allies and LBGTQ+ people can also learn about the needs of the community and the steps currently being recommended to address those needs.
- Resources for LGBTQ Youth by State: Everything from resources for finding a mentor to accessing legal help is listed in this state-by-state resource guide.
- YouthSeen: YouthSeen is a nonprofit whose stated mission is to help LGBTQIA young people and their families.
- LGBTQ+ Student Scholarship Database: Search the Human Rights Campaign’s database to find sources of funding for your education.
- Top Scholarships for LGBTQ Students: Apply for these scholarships and you could get a chunk of money to help defray your college costs.
- LGBTQ+ Scholarships to Help Pay Your Tuition: A wide range of organizations offer money for college to LGBTQ+ students.