Your college years will consist of some amazing memories that you’ll remember for the rest of your life – which is why picking the perfect school for you can be stressful. This can be particularly hard for all of you LGBTQ+ collegiettes as you try to find a campus with great resources and an environment that suits your needs.
But fear not, beautiful baby queers! There are plenty of campuses all across the country that provide their LGBTQ+ communities with amazing support to make them feel right at home. In no particular order, here are a few of the best!
1. Emerson College (Boston, MA)
Ranked #1 by thePrinceton Review in LGBT Friendliness two years in a row, it’s a no-brainer why this Boston school would be on this list. This school fosters a safe, supportive community for its LGBT students with the student organization Emerson’s Alliance for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone (EAGLE).
Emerson is also home to Rate My Professors’ fourth best LGBTQ Studies professor, Jason Roush, who teaches an Evolution of Queer Identity course. A student of his told Roush he used the knowledge he learned in the class to talk with his family about his brother’s struggles before he died from AIDS. Professor Roush considers this one of his most rewarding moments.
The school also fosters an inclusive Greek community with Phi Alpha Tau fraternity, which raised over $17,000 in order to pay for their brother Donnie Collins’s gender-reassignment surgery. Can you say Greek Unity at its finest? We think so!
2. University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
With the vision of an inclusive campus community free of discrimination in all forms, the University of Michigan’s Spectrum Center provides a variety of resources for its students. U-M’s longest-running and most popular educational program, My Voice Panels, is a panel of LGBTQ+ people who give the issues in their community a voice and share them with the campus.
Home to 19 LGBTQ+ student organizations, the university not only looks after their own, but they also encourage their students to give back to the Ann Arbor community. A group of U-M LGBTQ+ and Ally student mentors partner with Ann Arbor’s Riot Youth program in order to inspire social change and foster a stronger LGBTQ+ community through various group activities.
It also doesn’t hurt that this school was rated one of the biggest girl power schools last year. #QueerFeminism, anyone?
3. Macalester College (Saint Paul, MN)
In Spring 2011, Macalester College created an initiative to make more gender-inclusive restrooms on campus. Today, all of the campus’s single-stall bathrooms are all-gender restrooms, which can be found all around campus. The school also boasts six different dorms that offer gender-neutral living options.
Mac is home to a Queer Women Identity Collective, which facilitates discussions every month about the joys, trials and tribulations of being a queer woman on campus. Whenever you need to rant about the homophobic comment you overheard in your dorm or your dating woes, this is the place to do it.
Mac’s LGBTQ+ page is home to a list of “Out and Proud” LGBTQ+ staff members and their contact information in order to create a visible and accessible network for the queer community at Macalester. We can feel the warm and fuzzy community feels already!
4. Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
All of Stanford’s registered students may apply for 24-hour access to the Fire Truck House, which is home to the LGBT Community Resources Center. Safe and Open Spaces at Stanford (SOSAS) offers student-led diversity workshops to foster awareness about LGBTQ+ issues on campus, while the Queer Event & Services Team (QuEST) connects students, staff and faculty with the greater Stanford LGBTQ+ community.
But let’s face it—the thought of having to figure out the real world after you leave college can be scary, especially for a queer collegiette. That’s why Stanford also offers an LGBTQQI mentorship program, which connects its LGBTQ+ alumni with its current undergrad and graduate students for advice in navigating careers as LGBTQ+ individuals.
If you’re the artsy type, make sure to look out for Stanford’s “Open Dyke Night”. This reoccurring open-mic event showcases primarily queer women, so make sure you practice that love poem you’ve been saving for the cutie in the audience!
5. University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI)
With the implementation of its Preferred Name Policy in fall 2014, the University of Wisconsin-Madison began to recognize that many of their trans and genderqueer students and staff use names other than their given names. Thanks to much deliberation and consultation with the LGBT Campus Center, this policy was approved. Preferred names can be used for everything that isn’t legally necessary, such as class rosters and online communities. Students will even have the opportunity to have their preferred names on their student IDs.
The school also offers a wide array of queer-theory classes, such as Queer Popular Culture Studies and Queer Migration, which both qualify toward earning an LGBT Studies Certificate upon graduation.
However, the learning doesn’t stop when Badgers leave the classroom. UW-Madison also has a gender learning community called Open House, which invites the students who live on that floor to analyze conventional and non-conventional views of gender and sexuality through workshops and programming.
6. Carleton College (Northfield, MN)
College campuses can get a bit suffocating after a while. For that reason, Carleton College offers an annual Rainbow Retreat in which the LGBTQ+ community and their allies go away for a weekend trip and build community while discussing important issues that are afflicting them.
For on-campus support, Carleton In and Out (CIaO) is a weekly discussion group for the LGBTQ+ community, and Asexual Community & Education (ACE) provides asexual/aromantic community discussions. Sexuality and Gender Activism (SaGA) also promotes awareness of issues of sexuality and gender across the campus, dealing with issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and LGBTQ+ discrimination.
7. University of California, Riverside (Riverside, CA)
As the first campus in California to offer a professionally staffed LGBT resource office in 1993 and an LGBT studies minor in 1996 and the first public university in the nation to offer a gender-neutral housing option to all students, you can say this school likes to be ahead of the game.
Not only does UC Riverside have a monthly Grrrl Talk , but the school is also home to a chapter of Gamma Rho Lambda, a national organization that has been nationally recognized as the first lesbian sorority. GRL strives to be an all-inclusive sisterhood that is accepting of all identities.
These colleges are ready and willing to provide you with an open environment. Make sure to pick the campus best suited for you that will help you achieve your goals. With the help of some essential resources and your new chosen family, your college years will be worth cherishing.