Colleges Welcome the LGBT+ Community

Natasha Stein, Writer

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As seniors are beginning to apply for college, some students find it more difficult to find a school that will support their needs.

Students in the LGBTQ community search further to find a school that is friendly and welcoming to their identity.

Nowadays, it is more common throughout colleges that  are openly supportive to the LGBTQ commnuntiy. But what does it really mean to be a LGBTQ-friendly campus?

According to the Human Rights Campaign, “an LGBTQ-friendly campus should have policies in place and ensure that LGBTQ students are comfortable and protected during their college years.”  

Many colleges across the United States have gender-neutral housing for those specific reasons.

Most colleges are known to have their students identify as either female or male, assuming the students have it all figured out.

Not only do students look for gender neutral housing, they are also making sure they feel safe on their campus.

The environment of the location plays a huge part in this decision. More than 500 colleges internationally and in the United States have added optional questions related to gender identity and sexual orientation.

Some of those schools that are openly supportive are Princeton, MIT, Cornell, UCLA, SDSU, Elon, and many other spread through the United States. These schools all provide a safe space specifically for the LGBTQ students.

While choosing a college, knowing the climate of where the college is located is also a huge factor for these students.

The schools all have a designated counselor for the students.

For example, Princeton has a group of counselors who are always available to listen and support their students.

In fact, it is becoming more and more common for colleges to have its own center for LGBTQ students, in case they are having a rough day.

The centers provide a safe space to talk to someone or to relax. Everything that these schools have on their plates offers a safe community to prevent harassment, bullying, mental or physical abuse, or discrimination.  

Students also take the lead in creating a safe environment for themselves and their peers. Many school now have student run or faculty run clubs to support and empower the LGBTQ community.

Just like Palos Verdes High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club, these clubs and various classes try to educate students to not immediately judge others and to understand the importance of equality to all students.

Research has been done by the Human Rights Campaign, which asked students if they feel discriminated against because of their sexuality.

Colleges saw these studies, and now many schools are trying to get rid of the cruel judgment of their students.

Many worldwide organizations such as The Human Rights Campaign, Gay- Straight Alliance Networks, It Gets Better project and several others work with colleges to help prevent bullying, discrimination, and harassment.

Since high school years may be rough, these organizations hope to be a part of making the college experience more fun and safe.

While starting a new chapter in their life, students should feel comfortable in their own skin and to stay true to whom they really are.

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Colleges Welcome the LGBT+ Community