After all that nasty business at Rutgers earlier this year people are wondering what colleges are safest for LGBT students. Newsweek and the Daily Beast recently compiled a list of the top 25 universities and colleges for gays. The list drew on statistics from gay rights organization, Campus Pride who rate every university in the country as to how gay-friendly they are.
For many gay students, going to college is their first experience of living “out” so choosing the right college is especially important – one where they can blend in or stand out as much as they want.
However, it is important to remember that going to college is about getting that all important degree in a subject that will hopefully help you in the future. It can be tempting to consider a college with a thriving gay community and brunch club but if it doesn’t cater for your talents or interests it may be too much of a sacrifice to justify. After all, you have the rest of your life to have boozy brunches with your friends.
Hopefully you will have made a shortlist based on which colleges run the degree program you want. Now you can use the Campus Pride website and lists based on the Newsweek Study to narrow down your selection. Also, check out clubs and social groups on the university websites.
Important to check is the school’s nondiscrimination policies. Check them out. Do they include a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation or gender identity? If they do it means that if you do experience prejudice you will have some legal recourse. It is also a good sign that the school is welcoming to LGTB students.
Some schools offer specific courses in “Queer Studies” or have an English department that runs courses in gay and lesbian literature. Other disciplines might run courses in gay lesbian history, sexuality and identity or gender issues. Schools that run such programs are likely to have gay and lesbian faculty members which can be a boon to a new gay student.
Does the school have a gay organization? It should be easy to find out. When you find one try and speak to one of the members on the phone. You can ask them about there experience and make a good contact for when you arrive.
What about the surrounding environment? Some schools are gay-friendly but the opinions of the state and local people may differ so it is important to consider this aspect of life too, you don’t want to be bubbled-up in campus the whole time.
At the end of the day, life has never been better for LGBT students and there are plenty of options to consider.