The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered and Queer community has certainly grown its acronym over the years. It began simply enough as LGB but now has expanded to LGBTQ, some even use LGBTQIA. The I and A are for intersex and asexual/ally. Often, the acronym is slightly shortened as LGBTQ+. The longer the acronym, however, the broader the community's scope becomes. The community continually strives to include everyone it can. After all, there are strength in numbers and the larger the community becomes, the more support there is available.
Though there have been great strides made for this community, much work is yet to be done. The legalization of gay marriage, for instance, was a huge triumph that many felt was long overdue. However, there are many who would seek to undo that achievement. Thus, the work for gay marriage, and civil rights in general, continues.
This page is designed to provide resources for LGBTQ+ college students. These young people often face discomfort and even discrimination when they head to college. In order to foster healthy identities and a strong sense of self, LGBTQ students need to be able to find and support each other.
Resources for Before and After College
Applying as an LGBTQ Student
Your status as an LGBTQ student should have no significant bearing on what school accepts you, but not all schools see issues of sexual orientation the same. Some private colleges have policies that are discriminatory against LGBTQ students while others are welcoming and strive to provide a supportive environment for everyone. If you include your orientation in your application, you can gain a better understanding of the school's policies and attitudes regarding sexual orientation.
On the other hand, you may not yet be out to your family and so wish to remain discreet during the application process. In this case, you might consider making a private phone call to the admissions department to discuss the issue. If you visit campus for an interview, that is also a good time to discuss these issues. After all, you will probably want to discuss this matter, especially if you wish to live on campus where you will likely be paired with a roommate.
How to Find an LGBTQ-Friendly College or University
When you research colleges and universities, it's vital to ensure that their academics and social policies meet your needs. When you land on a school's website, seek out their nondiscrimination policy. Read several such policies from your top choice schools to see how they compare.
You can also search for a list of campus clubs and social organizations. If you find strong LGBTQ student organization(s) you will be on the right track. In fact, it might be possible to find contact people for those organizations who may be receptive to fielding your questions. After all, it's always valuable to get a first-hand account rather than a legal statement from an institution.
As you gain interest in a school, you might expand your research to see if they offer LGBTQ-themed courses. Check multiple departments as you may find offerings in the Psychology, Sociology, Literature, or even History departments, among others. If the school is supportive of LGBTQ studies in the classroom, that should raise your confidence level.
Campus Pride Index
The Campus Pride Index is an online tool that is available to help LGBTQ students decide where to study during their undergraduate years. The Pride Index has been around since 2007 so it is quite comprehensive and is a must-see for all LGBTQ students. You can search by region, state, rating, and type of institution to generate a list of potential schools.
When you create an account on their website, you can start generating a list of your top schools so that you can compare and contrast their qualities.
For each school, you can investigate how well they do in areas such as:
- Counseling and Health
- LGBTQ Student Recruitment
- Student Life
- Student Safety
- Institutional Support for LGBTQ Students
Other LGBTQ + Focused Groups
- GLAAD Campus Ambassadors:
If you wish to become the public face of LGBTQ issues on your campus, you can apply to become part of the GLAAD Campus Ambassador program. You'll have to be a full-time student and pass the application process, but this can be a terrific leadership opportunity if you have ambitions for politics or leadership.
- Human Rights Campaign:
This is a national organization that encourages campus involvement and activism in LGBTQ issues. The HRC organization can help you coordinate your political involvement with other engaged students or people in the wider community.
- Campus Pride:
This group works to make every campus safe for LGBTQ students. The organization hosts many events such as job fairs, college fairs, and online courses that help students and institutions achieve a higher awareness of related issues.
- Delta Lambda Phi:
This is a social fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men that facilitates fellowship and lifelong friendships. Note that Delta Lambda Phi accepts all men, regardless of gender expression. As a member, you'll find ample opportunities for social, service, and recreational activities. Their chapters may not be everywhere, but the national office can help you establish one on your campus.
Some of the Best College Resources for LGBTQ Students
- Curriculum/Academic Life:
Schools that offer strong LGBTQ curriculum will likely thrive in other related areas. Look for courses throughout the humanities. You might even find LGBTQ courses in departments you might not have suspected such as Economics, Political Science, and History. Some schools may even offer a concentration or a major in LGBTQ studies.
- Faculty/Staff Training:
Since sensitivity isn't everyone's forte, some colleges and universities have instituted faculty training to help broaden everyone's awareness of LGBTQ students and their needs. When a school's faculty has an inclusive worldview, everyone in class can feel safe and heard. After all, where unconscious bias can work against some students, staff training can help reduce or eliminate that problem.
- General Counseling Centers:
While not every college is large enough to support a full LGBTQ student counseling center, many will provide assurances that their centers are staffed with counselors who can help you address specific issues. The best centers make efforts to recruit LGBTQ counselors.
- LGBTQ Center:
Many campuses now maintain LGBTQ student centers where you can find a repository of resources, support, and collegiality. You can visit your campus LGBTQ student center to learn of upcoming training sessions, seminars, and campus events. They may also have resources that extend beyond the campus. Thus, if you have trouble in your off-campus apartment, you could seek out help and resources at the LGBTQ student center.
- LGBTQ Events Calendar:
The LGBTQ student body is varied and diverse, and so are their events. You can likely find the LGBTQ student events calendar at the LGBTQ center on campus. The calendar is sure to include social opportunities, visiting lecturers, concerts, and more. As a LGBTQ student, you'll want to have a copy every month.
- LGBTQ+ Student Groups/Organizations:
You'll want to get involved with the LGBTQ student groups on your campus for a variety of reasons. Not only can you meet new friends, but you'll be helping to form and solidify a community and real presence on your campus. LGBTQ student groups are vital in creating cultural events.
- Policy and Institutional Support:
You certainly want to see this sort of help from your campus. With strong written policies you will have a leg to stand on if things go awry. Hopefully the school will also have support in the form of health and counseling services, safety policies that address LGBTQ concerns, etc. You'll also want to0 seek out help for roommate matches, gender inclusive housing, and other resources.
Deadline: October 11
This is a regional scholarship opportunity for students in the Northwestern United States. The Pride Foundation supports 60 scholarships, which you can apply for all at once. They have no citizenship requirement and support students that have wide ranging backgrounds, interests, and locations. Whether you're an artist, a STEM student, or simply someone who needs money for your education, this single application is well worth the time.
The J. Tracy Hermann LGBTQ Center Youth Scholarship
Deadline: April 26
This scholarship fund is for LGBTQ students in one of the following New York counties: Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, or Ulster County. You must be a high school graduate or GED recipient who has been accepted to an accredited 2- or 4-year postsecondary institution. The fund emphasizes a record of leadership, scholarship, or activism.
Live Out Loud
Deadline: March 16
This fund is available to students in the tri-state area of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The award is quite handsome and even finalists win opportunities that are potentially life changing. They will be able to shadow a top professional in their field of interest, have coffee with a pro in their field, and meet with an HR professional in their field who will steer them to the skills and attributes most desired in that area.
Hofstra School of Law Fellowship for LGBT Rights
Deadline: Upon Admission to Hofstra Law
This program selects three fellows from each class admitted to the law school. They must all be committed to advocating for LGBTQ rights. The $7,500 award is provided during the summer to support students during summer externships. These externships are through non-profit organizations that are dedicated to LGBTQ advocacy. Further, fellows are eligible to enroll in a special curriculum that emphasizes equality. Courses include LGBTQ Lawyering, Sex-based Discrimination, and Sexuality and the Law.
CUNY Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Awards
Deadline: June 1
This award is available to students in the City University of New York system (CUNY). The funds are available to a wide range of majors who are working to advance LGBTQ students and studies. Thus, the funds may help fund book research, a dissertation on LGBTQ issues, or graduate studies in general.
South Orange County PFLAG Scholarship
Amount: $500 - $2,500
Deadline: April 15
The South Orange County PFLAG Scholarship is open to outstanding graduating high school seniors. To apply, you will need to submit an essay, a letter of recommendation, and evidence that you have supported the LGBTQ community or its youth. The award will be disbursed directly to you so that you can allocate it to tuition, books, living expenses, or whatever you choose.
PFLAG LONG BEACH SCHOLARSHIP
Deadline: April 11
You must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to apply to this region-specific scholarship fund. You should also be active and involved with education, support, or advocacy in the LGBTQ community. You, or your parent, must also be living in the Long Beach area when you apply. Your application also needs a letter of recommendation, current FAFSA application, and a copy of a drivers license, utility bill, or other proof of residency.
Alan Turing Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: January 27
Alan Turing was a computing pioneer whose work formed the basis for work in contemporary artificial intelligence. He was also a gay man who was persecuted for his sexuality. This scholarship has been established in his honor. The award is specific to students at University of California San Diego who are studying computer science or computer engineering. You must also be active in the LGBTQ community and demonstrate financial need.
Joseph Harry Endowed Scholarship
Amount: Full Tuition
Deadline: January 31
This scholarship is open to LGBTQ students at Northern Illinois University. You must demonstrate satisfactory academic performance and provide a letter of recommendation with your application. Your personal statement should highlight your support of, and involvement with, the LGBTQ community. If you are not out, or for whatever reason do not wish your sexuality to be associated with the award, your confidentiality will be upheld.
ALLIES Scholarship for Student Leadership Development
Amount: $500 minimum
Full-time LGBTQ students at Northern Michigan University who demonstrate a dedication to supporting the community can apply for this scholarship. This includes any club membership, political activism, or journalism, etc. in support of the community. You must also be in good academic standing and be prepared to provide a letter of recommendation.
Other LGBTQ Resources
- The Trevor Project:
LGBTQ people are often under tremendous stress. The Trevor Project was founded to provide crisis and suicide interventions specifically for LGBTQ young people. The project also conducts research into suicide so that it might be prevented on a wider scale.
- LGBT Bar:
This is the Bar Association for attorneys in the LGBTQ community. Its mission is to promote justice for the community. In 1992, the LGBT Bar affiliated itself with the American Bar Association with whom it collaborates on issues related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
- Anti-Violence Programs:
The AVP is the largest anti-LGBTQ-violence organization in the country. They strive to show up for LGBTQ people who have become victims of violent crime.
- Out & Equal:
The goal of Out & Equal is to ensure equal employment for all in the United States. They consult with leaders in both private industry and government to foster environments of inclusion.
- Human Rights Campaign:
The HRC is a multi-faceted organization whose core mission is to engender equal rights for everyone, especially the LGBTQ community. Their membership numbers in the millions and they have been around for 40 years, making them one of the most robust and longest standing champions of the LGBTQ community.