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LGBT Activities on the College Campus
How do LGBT college students survive on today's campuses? Do LGBT college students have a strong support group available to them on their campus? Are there groups, clubs or organizations for LGBT students to join? Oftentimes LGBT students find the college experience to be satisfying if they know the campus is generally safe and that there are other LGBT students with whom to associate. On most LGBT affirming college campuses, there are Gay Student Alliances and other such clubs for LGBT students and allies to join.
University of Alabama Capstone Alliance
Spectrum LGBTQA Association at University of Alabama
Birmingham-Southern College Allies
Univ of Alabama at Birmingham Gay Straight Student Alliance
Auburn University Gay Straight Alliance
University of South
Michael Sam Speaks at Auburn University
Openly gay NFL football player Michael Sam spoke at Foy Auditorium on Wednesday, October 5 at Auburn University to kick off LGBT History Month.
The event, entitled “From Hitchcock High to the NFL: I am Michael Sam,” was sponsored by the Cross Cultural Center for Excellence and Spectrum Gay/Straight Alliance. Allen Sutton, director for the Cross-Cultural Center for Excellence, said, “Mr. Sam made history when he came out as gay ahead of the NFL draft, making him the first openly-LGBT player to be drafted in any major American sport. Since his announcement, through scrutiny, criticism and admiration, he has become an icon and pioneer for the LGBT community. The Cross-Cultural Center felt that bringing Mr. Sam to Auburn to tell his inspiring story was a great way to begin celebrating LGBT History Month.”
The event began with a brief performance
from Auburn’s own Mosaic Theatre Company, a small acting troupe
dedicated to writing and producing original works with diversity and
discourse in mind. They debuted their new piece, “Gay Greek,” a
short skit dealing with “microagressions and how organizations can make
people feel singled out.”
When Sam took the stage the first thing he said was he's not shy and "what you see is what you get." He went on to say, “I’m also a very honest person. I feel like there’s not a lot of honesty in the world, and I’m going to tell it exactly like it is.”
Sam told the audience about his professional career, childhood and sexuality. Sam said he was raised by his older brothers, who he described as “terrible” guardians. “I saw so much stuff no child should ever see,” Sam said. “I saw hardcore drugs, guns, crackheads getting high in our house." Living in such an aggressive environment made for a dark past, Sam said.
"My brothers abused me because I was different," Sam said. "I acted different and I didn’t like the same music as them.” Sam said he turned his life around by getting into college and and getting involved in football. “I was my parents’ first son to graduate, their second child and their first child to go to college as well,” Sam said.
Sam also shared his motivation and inspiration to continue working for the LGBT community, and his inspiration for making the decision to come out publicly as gay. “There are so many people out there living a lie, not because it’s not their time to come out, but because they’re afraid to come out," Sam said. "I want to be that sword and shield. I want to be an inspiration to those people.”
(From Corey Williams and Romy Iannuzzi / The Plainsman Campus Newspaper / Auburn University)
Auburn Plainsman: Michael Sam Kicks Off LGBT History Month
Auburn Plainsman: Michael Sam to speak on Auburn Campus
LGBT Campus Updates
Campus Pride: 15 LGBT-Friendly College Campuses
Huff Post Queer Voices: LGBT College Student Reports
Chronicle of Higher Education: What LGBT Students Want Their Professors to Know
Physical and Emotional Health Concerns of LGBT College Students
The Atlantic: Is College More Dangerous for LGBT Students?
Here TV: College Guide for LGBT Students
AGB Magazine: LGBT Challenges in Higher Education
LGBTQ Nation: The Worst College Campuses for LGBT Students
Campus Pride: Shame List of Absolute Worst Campuses for LGBT Students
Teach for America: Supporting LGBT College Students
Accredited LGBT Friendly On-Line Schools
Shame List of Absolute Worst Campuses for LGBT Students
Campus Pride annually updates and publishes its list of US colleges and universities that they describe as the worst campuses for LGBTQ youth. Based on discriminatory policies, lack of services, or non-affirming environments, the list is assembled as a guide to LGBTQ students seeking information about schools that may or may not be a good fit for them.
“Religion-based bigotry is careless and
life-threatening,” said Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus
Pride. “LGBTQ young people face high rates of harassment and violence,
especially our trans youth and LGBTQ youth of color. The schools on this
list openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth and many of these schools
have requested or received Title IX exemptions for no other purpose than
to discriminate, expel and ban LGBTQ youth from campus. It is shameful
Campus Pride named the list the “Shame List” for the purpose of calling out the harmful and shameful acts of religion-based prejudice and bigotry. “Families and young people deserve to know that this list of schools are the worst for LGBTQ youth. They are not loving, welcoming, safe spaces to live, learn and grow – and nobody wants to go to a college that openly discriminates against anyone,” Windmeyer said.
The Shame List identifies the “absolute worst campuses for LGBTQ youth” in the United States. The colleges & universities listed have chosen to openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth and have requested Title IX exemptions to perpetuate the harms of religion-based bigotry.
Students who find their campus on the Shame List are encouraged to reach out to Campus Pride and consider filing a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Prospective students and families who are looking for LGBTQ-friendly campuses are encouraged to check out the Campus Pride Index for a free online search database. Campus Pride releases the list annually and updates it regularly.
(From Campus Pride)
Campus Pride: Shame List of Absolute Worst
Campuses for LGBT Students
Same Sex Couple Featured in Alumni Mag Wedding Announcement
The University of Montevallo (Montevallo, Alabama) featured its first wedding announcement for a same-sex couple in the Spring/Summer 2013 edition of its "Montevallo Today" alumni magazine. In every issue, in the Class Notes section of the magazine, numerous announcements are posted on behalf of UM alumni regarding class reunions, career changes, accolades, births, deaths, and weddings.
Of the many wedding announcements that have appeared in each issue of the magazine over the years, this is the first time a gay or lesbian couple has been featured. The honor of the first UM same-sex wedding announcement goes to Kay Butts (Class of 2004) and her wife Ashley Pruett, who were married on November 10, 2012 in New Hampshire.
LGBT Alumni Association Reunion at Yale
Yale’s LGBT Alumni Association put together a fabulous music video invitation for its upcoming LGBT Alumni Reunion in February 2013. You gotta see this video! It features super talented alumni backed up by the Duke’s Men of Yale. That night, they'll "remember their past" and "shape their future," which sounds great (and all that), but we bring it to your attention because the singing and dancing is so good.
Yale’s GALA Music Video for 2013 Reunion
LGBT College Students
Top 25 LGT Friendly Colleges
Do I Look Gay to You?
Best Colleges for LGBT Students
Gay College Students at Georgetown
College Applications Asking About Sexual Orientation
She’s Marrying Her Sorority Sister
Even Those Gay Friendly Colleges Aren't Really
LGBT Issues and College Life
Tips for Gay College Students
LGBT College Statistics
Top LGBT Friendly College Campuses
Campus Pride Index
Is Your College LGBT Friendly?
Do LGBT students feel safe and accepted on their college campus? Choosing the right college may be critical in determining whether or not you feel respected and accepted. Does your campus have an inclusive environment? Or does it isolate and marginalize its LGBT population?
LGBT college students are encouraged to consider their college's policies, faculty and staff, commitment to LGBT support, student life, academic life, campus housing, campus safety, counseling and health services, and recruitment efforts.
Does your campus include sexual
orientation and gender identity/expression in the written
non-discrimination policy statement and in written statements about
diversity and multiculturalism?
Does your campus provide domestic partner benefits for LGBT employees with same-sex partners?
Does your campus have a Safe Zone program
or Safe Space program (i.e., an ongoing network of visible people on
campus who identify openly as allies for LGBT people and concerns)?
Does your campus have a professional staff
person who is employed to increase campus awareness of LGBT
concerns/issues as part of his/her job description?
Does your campus have an LGBT concerns office or an LGBT student resource center (i.e., an institutionally funded space specifically for LGBT education and support services)? If not, does your campus have another office or resource center that deals actively with LGBT issues and concerns (e.g., Women’s Center, Multicultural Center)?
Does your senior administration actively demonstrate inclusive use of the words “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender” when discussing community, multicultural and, or diversity issues on campus?
Does your campus sponsor regular, on-going
campus-wide activities and events to increase awareness of LGBT
issues/concerns on campus?
Does your campus have regular, on-going social events specifically for LGBT students?
Does your campus have a college/university-recognized LGBT campus student organization for all LGBT students and allies?
Does your campus have any student organizations that primarily serve the social or recreational needs of LGBT students (e.g., Gay social fraternity, Lesbian Volleyball Recreational Club, Gay Coed Lacrosse Club, etc)?
Does your campus have any student organizations that primarily serve the needs of under-represented or multicultural LGBT populations (e.g., LGBT Latinos/Latinas, International LGBT students, LGBT Students with Disabilities, etc)?
Does your campus have any student
organizations that primarily serve the religious/spiritual needs of LGBT
students (e.g., Unity Fellowship for Students, Gays for Christ, LGBT
Does your campus have out LGBT faculty
Does your campus have an LGBT studies major? If No, does your campus have LGBT-specific courses offered through various academic programs?
Does your campus integrate LGBT issues into existing courses when appropriate?
Does your campus include LGBT issues in new faculty/staff orientation programs and on-going training opportunities?
Does your campus have an extensive collection of LGBT-related holdings in the campus library?
Does your campus provide LGBT-themed
housing options or LGBT specific living-learning communities in campus
Does your campus allow for students with same-sex partners to reside together in campus housing?
Does your campus provide housing options that are sensitive to the needs of transgender students?
Does your campus provide training sessions for housing employees on LGBT issues and concerns?
Does your campus provide training sessions for public safety officers on LGBT issues and concerns and anti-LGBT violence?
Do your campus public safety officers carry out LGBT outreach efforts and meet with LGBT student leaders/organization?
Does your campus have a clear procedure for reporting LGBT-related bias incidents and hate crimes?
Does your campus have a bias-incident and hate-crime reporting system for LGBT concerns?
Does your campus have support groups for
LGBT individuals in the process of coming out and for other LGBT
Does your campus have individual student counseling that is sensitive to LGBT issues/concerns?
Does your campus provide training for campus health care professionals to increase their sensitivity to the special health needs of LGBT individuals?
Does your campus participate in an LGBT Admission Fair designed for outreach to incoming LGBT high school students?
Does your campus have any scholarships specifically targeting LGBT students and heterosexual students who are supportive of LGBT equality?
Does your campus include LGBT issues in new student orientation programs?
Does your campus have an LGBT Mentoring program to welcome and assist LGBT students in transitioning to academic life and other involvement on campus?
College Toolkit: Choosing an LGBT-Affirming College
Research Paper: LGBT Issues in Higher Education
Huffington Post: Ten Most Gay Friendly Colleges
Campus Pride: Making Campuses Safer and More Welcoming for LGBT Students
Even Those Gay Friendly Colleges Aren't Really
LGBT Issues and College Life
Tips for Gay College Students
Scholarships for LGBT Students
Books on LGBT College Issues
Edited by Vernon A. Wall and Nancy J. Evans
Systematic study of the complex issues facing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons on college campuses. It builds on the content included in Evans and Wall's previous book, Beyond Tolerance: Gays, Lesbians & Bisexuals on Campus.
Advocate: College Guide for LGBT Students
By Shane Windmeyer
Advice from campus officials and LGBT college students, this easy to use guide is the perfect companion for the first generation of out LGBT students. This new guide profiles the 100 U.S. institutions with the top “Gay Point Average” on critical LGBT issues such as: Gay-affirmative policies Campus events Queer student perspectives Housing for LGBT students Local gay hangouts Gay-friendly support resources Queer studies. It is the product of nearly 5,000 online interviews with LGBT students and 500 online interviews with faculty and staff from campuses across the country. As the first generation of ‘out’ LGBT students prepares for college, they now have the information they need to choose the right campus.
Princeton Review: Gay & Lesbian Guide to College Life
Barnes & Noble: LGBT College Survival Guides
Advocate: College Guide for LGBT Students
Princeton Review Ranks LGBT Friendly Colleges
Princeton Review, an organization that provides evaluative info about colleges, released its rankings of the top ten most LGBT friendly college campuses and the top ten least LGBT friendly college campuses. These lists help to address the concern of LGBT students who are seeking a safe and affirming educational setting: Do students, faculty, and administration at your college treat all persons equally regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression?
1 NY New York University
2 CA Stanford University
3 MA Emerson College
4 MA Wellesley College
5 VT Bennington College
6 WI University of Wisconsin
7 MN Macalester College
8 FL New College of Florida
9 AZ Prescott College
10 NY Sarah Lawrence College
1 IL Wheaton College
2 PA Grove City College
3 UT Brigham Young University
4 VA Hampden-Sydney College
5 MO College of the Ozarks
6 IN University of Notre Dame
7 CA Thomas Aquinas College
8 MA Boston College
9 TX University of Dallas
10 TX Texas A&M University
College Asks for Applicants' Sexual Orientation
Elmhurst College Becomes First to Ask Applicants’ Sexual Orientation.
Says the move is in line with its mission to increase campus diversity.
A private college outside of Chicago has begun asking potential students about their sexual orientation in a move the school says is aimed at increasing campus diversity. Here’s the question on the application for those students hoping to attend Elmhurst College in the fall of 2012: “Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?” The three multiple-choice answers: “Yes,” “No” and “Prefer Not to Answer.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the addition of the question to the school's application makes the college the first in the U.S. to ask potential students directly about their sexual orientation or gender identity. School officials say that, like questions about race or religion, the question is completely optional and will have no impact on an applicants' chances of admission. Still, those who answer “yes” may be eligible for a scholarship worth up to one-third of the cost of tuition, according to the paper.
“Increasing diversity is part of our mission statement,” said Gary Rold, the school's dean of admissions. “This is simply closing the loop, in many ways, of another group who has a very strong identity. It may not be race and religion but it’s an important part of who they are.” While Elmhurst appears to be the first school to ask the question directly, other college’s applications give students the opportunity to identify themselves indirectly.
The Sun-Times explains: "At Dartmouth College, for example, students can check boxes of activities that might interest them, including LGBT-centered activities. At the University of Pennsylvania, students who write in their application essay that they are gay can be paired with a mentor."
(From Josh Voorhees)
LGBT Fraternities and Sororities
Delta Lambda Phi
Sigma Phi Beta
Alpha Lambda Tau
Gamma Rho Lambda
Sigma Nu Omega
Standards for LGBT Programs and Services
Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education
The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) has established guidelines for the directors of various campus programs, including residence life, Greek organizations, counseling services, recruiting and admissions, diversity programs, health services, and more. Their collection of guidelines also addresses the professional standards for LGBT programs and services on college campuses.
According to CAS, it is no longer a matter of whether to provide services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) college students; rather, it is a matter of when. The talent, energy, and hope with which LGBT students are entering college must be acknowledged and encouraged. Some students are declaring their bisexual or homosexual orientations in high school, then knocking on institutional doors with expectations of being fully appreciated for who they are in their entirety—including their sexual orientations. Many more students enter college questioning their sexual identities, not yet ready to make pronouncements nor embrace labels, but they deserve the institution’s demonstrated acceptance and attention.
Nearly 100 higher education institutions currently have full-time professionally staffed offices or centers that provide services for and about LGBT students, faculty, and staff. Some such services include information and referral; advocacy; support/discussion groups; LGBT student organization advising; safe zones and ally projects; leadership programs; peer counseling; and Lavender Graduation celebrations. Some campuses have LGBT offices staffed by part-time graduate students, and some campuses with no actual LGBT office or center employ a person who is responsible for providing services to LGBT students.
The National Consortium of Directors of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resources in Higher Education was officially founded in San Diego in 1997 to provide support for the professionals in this growing new arena in student affairs. Beyond membership support, the Consortium seeks to assist colleges and universities in developing equity in every respect for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni. The Consortium also focuses on developing curricula to enhance its professional goals, to promote improved campus climates, and to advocate for policy change, program development, and the establishment of campus LGBT offices and centers.
Minimal data are currently available as to the number of LGBT students on college campuses. Several reasons exist to explain this fact . First, some surveys regarding sexual behavior rely on people to self-disclose same-sex interactions, thoughts, or feelings. It is unlikely that people will answer such questions honestly or at all if they do not explicitly trust the anonymity of the process. Second, some surveys rely on people to identity themselves through labels such as homosexual, lesbian, gay, or bisexual. While some LGBT people may use these labels, many others, especially LGBT people of color, may not. Either they have decided to not attach a label to their non-heterosexual identity; or they have not journeyed through the “coming-out” process sufficiently to yet identify with a label; or they use different terminology, all of which are the experiences of LGBT college students. Finally, while some people may have strong feelings of same-sex attraction, it is likely that they remain in heterosexual relationships or become non-sexual and never act on their feelings of such same-sex attraction. Consequently, limited empirical data exist to identify numbers of LGBT students.
No college or university has sexual orientation or gender identity boxes on admission forms, and retention studies related to LGBT students have not yet been conducted. Therefore, when administrators wish to ascertain the number of LGBT students on campuses, there are few, if any, data bases available to provide such information. Consequently, they find themselves resorting to asking an openly gay student or staff member or simply projecting numbers from LGBT college chat rooms.
Like racism, sexism, and other ideologies of oppression, heterosexism—that only heterosexuality is normal—is manifested in social customs, institutions, and in attitudes and behaviors of individuals. Preserved through the routine operation of institutions, the maintenance of heterosexism is possible because it is in keeping with prevalent social norms. Higher education contributes to the maintenance of institutionalized heterosexism as evidenced by hate crimes directed toward LGBT students, faculty, and staff members. Given that heterosexism’s values underlie higher education, the work involved in proactively addressing violence against LGBT individuals and building communities that are inclusive and welcoming of LGBT persons is both controversial and demanding.
Researchers note that campuses are no longer safe havens for students, faculty, or staff. Violence is a community and societal problem that has found its way into institutions of higher education. Institutions must make concerted efforts to create campus climates where every student is safe and every faculty and staff member is secure in knowing that there will never be another incident such as the one involving Matthew Shepard at the University of Wyoming.
CAS provides a framework for building and maintaining an effective LGBT campus program. It offers resources and assessment tools to help higher education administrators and directors of LGBT programs consider all the factors relevant to ensuring their LGBT program is successful. By using CAS's published guidelines, directors of LGBT programs can consider such aspects as the mission, purpose, program elements, learning outcomes, developmental goals, leadership, organization, training, financial issues, legal responsibilities, external; relations, ethics, and assessment.
Among the important standards outlined by CAS regarding effective LGBT campus programs are the following statements:
The formal education of students consists of the curriculum and the co-curriculum, and must promote student learning and development that is purposeful and holistic. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Programs and Services must identify relevant and desirable student learning and development outcomes and provide programs and services that encourage the achievement of those outcomes.
Relevant and desirable outcomes include: intellectual growth, effective communication, realistic self-appraisal, enhanced self-esteem, clarified values, career choices, leadership development, healthy behaviors, meaningful interpersonal relationships, independence, collaboration, social responsibility, satisfying and productive lifestyles, appreciation of diversity, spiritual awareness, and achievement of personal and educational goals.
LGBT programs and services must: Advocate for the creation of a campus climate that is free from harassment and violence. Identity environmental conditions that negatively influence student welfare. Advocate for solutions to be enacted that neutralize such condition. Work to create policies and procedures within the institution that promote and maintain a hospitable climate.
LGBT programs and services must promote institutional understanding for the concerns of LGBT students, faculty, and staff; educating other campus programs and services to be responsive to the unique concerns of LGBT students.
These programs and services must include:
Individual and group psychological counseling such as: coming out support, services for victims and perpetrators of homophobia, services to address family issues, services to address same sex dating issues, services to address same sex domestic violence, and support for victims and perpetrators of hate crimes.
Health services such as: health forms with inclusive language, LGBT health issues brochures, safer sex information for same sex couples.
Career services such as: resume development, information on LGBT friendly employers, employer mentoring programs for LGBT students, information on LGBT issues in the workplace, and academic advising such as the support of students’ educational choices
LGBT programs and services must provide educational opportunities that include: Examination of the intersection of sexual orientation with race, class, gender, disability, and age. Promotion of self awareness, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Promotion of leadership experiences. Identification of and networking with role models and mentors. Support of students and their families in achieving academic success.
CAS Guide for LGBT Programs
Natl Consortium of Directors of LGBT Resources in Higher Education
LGBT College Info
University of Montevallo Safe Zone
University of Alabama Safe Zone
Auburn University Safe Zone
Univ South Ala Allies
Bham Southern Coll Allies
Southern Safe Zone
Safe Zone Foundation
Resources for Safe Zone Programs
LGBTQ Campus: How to Start a Safe Zone Program
GLSEN Safe Space Campaign
Safe Zone Logos & Stickers
Univ Ala Bham
UNC Chapel Hill: LGBT Allies
Univ of Florida Friends
Illinois State University
Penn State Altoona Gay Straight Alliance
Natl Consortium of LGBT Directors List of Safe Zone Ally Programs
Natl Consortium of LGBT Directors List of LGBT Centers & Programs
Natl Consortium of LGBT Directors Info on Starting LGBT Ally Program
Straights for Gay Rights
National LGBT Organizations and National LGBT Religious Organizations
National & International Gay & Lesbian Organizations & Publications
GLAAD: Ally Resources
Amazon List: The Greatest Gay Allies
Univ Missouri-Columbia: LGBT Resource Center
Univ North Texas: Ally Program
Univ North Texas:
Ally Program (Report)
Nal Center for Lesbian Rights: Resources
Penn State: LGBTA Student Resource Center
Lambda Legal: Be A Workplace Ally
Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama