The Top 25 Most LGBTQ Friendly Colleges

February 15, 2023

lgbtq friendly colleges

As a prospective college student who identifies as LGBTQ+, you want to know that your future campus home will be safe, inclusive, and offer a community where you will thrive academically and socially. Further, you may have concerns about access to facilities, campus resources, healthcare, and even academic opportunities in areas like Gender, Sexuality and Queer Studies. In this blog, we aim to highlight 25 schools that have sizable and vibrant LGBTQ+ communities, strong administrative backing, and a history of being welcoming and supportive. Further, all of the Top 25 Most LGBTQ Friendly Colleges are featured in our college guidebook: Colleges Worth Your Money.  As such, you can bet that in addition to being excellent postsecondary homes for students who identify as LGBTQ+, they are also stellar academic institutions that boast phenomenal outcomes for graduates.

Please note that the 25 schools are numbered in alphabetical order for presentation/ease of reading purposes. While these schools are College Transitions top 25 LGBTQ friendly colleges, we do not feel it would be meaningful to rank the schools further. Each institution on this list does an excellent job in all of the areas cited above.

The 25 Most LGBTQ Friendly Colleges 

1) Brown University

  • At Brown, 24% of undergraduates report that they identified as LGBQ+ and 3% of undergraduate students indicate that they identified as transgender or gender nonbinary.
  • Brown has an LGBTQ Center which was established in 2004.

2) Bryn Mawr College

  • Rainbow Alliance and Zami+ student groups are active on campus.
  • Bryn Mawr offers a plethora of career engagement opportunities specific to the LGBTQ community.

3) Carleton College

  • The Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC)offers resources and support on topics and identities related to the diversity of gender and sexuality, specifically centering resources and support for LGBTQIA+ people at Carleton.”
  • Roughly 20% of the undergraduate population identifies as LGBTQ+.

4) College of William & Mary

  • “As part of the university’s efforts to provide an inclusive and respectful campus environment that is responsive to the needs of our community, single-occupancy restrooms and shower facilities on campus are designated as All Gender.”
  • The W&M Rainbow Coalition and William & Mary Lamdba Alliance are thriving organizations on campus.

5) Emerson College

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual+ (LGBTQIA+) Student Life is housed within the Division of Student Affairs.
  • “LGBTQIA+ student organizations including EAGLE (Emerson’s Advancement Group for Love And Expression) and XeCult (Art Collective for Queer Women and Femmes), and Theyta (a group for non-binary folx) are advised and supported by Intercultural Student Affairs.”

6) Emory University

  • The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life seeks to engage the university community in the creation of an affirming and just campus environment while supporting the development of students of all gender and sexual identities.”
  • Queer Discussion Groups (QDGs) run on a regular basis.

7) Grinnell College

  • The Stonewell Resource Center is a safe space on campus that is staffed by a student management team. It also includes a library with “hundreds of books, films, and leading queer publications.
  • Course options include: Foundations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies (LGBTQ).

8) Macalester College

  • The Gender & Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) puts on a number of regular events throughout the year.
  • Mac has had a socially/civically-involved gay student community since the early 1970s.

9) Mount Holyoke College

  • Over half of the student body identifies as LGBTQ+.
  • The school offers gender-inclusive restrooms and housing.
  • Mount Holyoke offers specialized counseling.

Top 25 Most LGBTQ Friendly Colleges (Continued)

10) NYU

  • The NYU LGBTQ+ Center holds regular events and has been in existence for 25 years.
  • Students can major or minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

11) Oberlin College

12) Penn State University

13) Rutgers University

14) Smith College

15) Stanford University

16) Tufts University

  • Founded in 1992, the LGBT Center at Tufts is active and thriving.
  • Tufts offers a mentoring program for incoming students called Team Q.

17) University of Maryland – College Park

  • The LGBTQ+ Equity Center is a professionally staffed office at the College Park campus with a plethora of resources available to students.
  • The One Project helps first year students adjust to college life through social events and a community-building retreat.

18) University of Massachusetts – Amherst

  • The Stonewall Center runs workshops, support groups, and connects students to UMass and local trans resources.
  • “UMass Amherst also offers the ability for trans students to change their name and gender on records and provides gender-inclusive housing. The campus has more than 150 gender-inclusive restrooms and a trans-inclusive athletic policy.”

19) University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

  • The Spectrum Center “works toward enhancing the campus climate and support services for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty at the university through education, advocacy, and community building.”
  • There are a strong number of relevant student-run organizations on campus.

Top 25 Most LGBTQ Friendly Colleges (Continued)

20) University of Washington – Seattle

  • The Q Center facilitates and enhances “a brave, affirming, liberatory, and celebratory environment for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of all sexual and gender orientations, identities, and expressions.”
  • “The process for name changes at the UW is accessible, simple and can be used to change not just a person’s preferred name, but university records and documents too.”

21) University of Wisconsin – Madison

  • The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center: Supporting LGBTQ+ students and their communitiesis a unit of UW-Madison Student Affairs.”
  • UW-Madison has an LGBTQ+ Peer Mentor Program to help students acclimate to life on campus.

22) University of Pennsylvania

  • The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center’s mission is to enrich the experiences, foster success, celebrate victories, and affirm the existence of Penn’s LGBTQ+ undergraduates, professional and graduate students, staff, faculty, and alum using the lenses of social justice and intersectionality.”
  • Penn has an annual week-long LGBTQ cultural celebration called QPenn.

23) Wellesley College

  • The Stone Center offers a number of LGBTQ programs and services on the 4th floor Billings Penthouse.
  • Wellesley facilitates professional networking through “The Hive” virtual space and encourages alums to provide personal mentorship in LGBTQ+ identity issues as well.

24) Wesleyan University

  • Offers a Queer Studies concentration as part of the American Studies Major.
  • Wesleyan offers gender-neutral housing, GLBT-themed housing options, and 56 of 70 buildings on campus have all-gender bathrooms.

25) Vassar College

  • “The Vassar College LGBTQ Center enhances the campus life experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students and their allies by providing social, cultural and academic programming; fostering strong leaders; highlighting Vassar’s unique history; and engaging the entire campus in discussions of social justice and inclusion.”
  • Vassar’s student organizations include Ace Space, the Queer Coalition of Vassar College, and TransMission.

The Top 25 Most LGBTQ Friendly Colleges – Final Thoughts

We hope you have found our list of the Top 25 Most LGBTQ Friendly Colleges to be helpful in your college search process. We are confident that each school is a welcoming and equitable home for all prospective students. For more useful lists of schools, visit our Dataverse.