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LGBTQ+ Community Resources for College Students

December 8, 2021

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.