Great Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students
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 25 schools 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.
Great Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students
- 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.
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.
- “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+.
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.
- 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.”
- “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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- The Multicultural Resource Center offers programs and services for LGBTQ+ students.
- Students can study in the Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies Department.
Penn State University
- “The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (CSGD) provides a comprehensive range of education, information, and advocacy services to students, faculty, staff, and alumni.”
- There are a good number of active student organizations on campus.
- “The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (SJE) provides educational and social programs, leadership development, and policy consultation for LGBTQIA and ally students, faculty, staff, and community members.”
- There are 15+ student organizations on campus for the LGBTQ+ community.
San Diego State University
- “The Pride Center at San Diego State University creates, sustains, and strengthens an open, inclusive, safe, and affirming gathering space and campus environment for persons of all sexual and gender identities and their allies.”
- SDSU offers an LGBTQ+ Studies program within the College of Arts and Letters.
- Smith, a women’s college, has progressive transgender policies.
- PRISM is Smith’s student organization for Queer, Trans, and Questioning students of color.
- Queer Student Resources at Stanford rate well in terms of student life, counseling offerings, and housing and residential life.
- The school offers a Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies within the School of Humanities and Science.
- Founded in 1992, the LGBT Center at Tufts is active and thriving.
- Tufts offers a mentoring program for incoming students called Team Q.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
- 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.
- “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.
We hope you have found our list of Great Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students to be helpful in your college search process. For more useful lists of schools, visit our Dataverse.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).