Studying at university can be time consuming and expensive, so it’s important to feel comfortable, accepted and supported at the school you select. There are Liberal Arts universities around the country known to be inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly, but a few of them consistently show up in the ranks of best LGBTQ+-friendly in the U.S. These schools are typically selected based on academic programing, student social support services, LGBTQ+ campus populations and more. Here are eight of the most-welcoming in the U.S.A.
Equipped with gender-neutral restrooms, LGBTQ+ student networks and organizations, and access to change your gender or preferred name in school databases, the University of Washington has plenty of resources to support the queer community. Student organizations here help students to socialize with their LGBTQ+ peers and make friends. Some resources include The Q Center, an advocacy and mentoring center for queer students and the LGBTQ+ Student Network which provides students with support, community and events, and educational information.
The Stonewall Center is UMass’s LGBTQ+ resource center which opened in 1985, making it one of the first support centers of its kind for college students in the U.S.A. The center provides support to LGBTQIA+ students through access to gender-inclusive restrooms, local medical and mental health resources, a special library, a network of peer mentors and more. Student organizations include The Bi/Pan/Queer Collective, LGBTQIA+ Graduate Student Support and Discussion Space, and The SpACE group for asexual and aromantic students, all of which give students plenty of options for social support.
This university joins the list of the best for LGBTQIA+ students because of its outstanding resources for students and student organizations. The campus’ LGBTQA3 Alliance even has a designated office where students can do homework, hang out and socialize. The Alliance has subgroup meetings for students of specific identities to congregate. For example, one group “Bi & Beyond ” supports bisexual, pan, poly and questioning students, while “Trans and Non-binary” supports its namesake, and “Aces and Aros’ ‘ accommodates asexual and aromantic students. There is also a support group called “Pansy” for LGBTQIA+ students. The University of Oregon also provides students the option to join gender equity housing.
Tufts is on the list of Campus Pride’s 40 most LGBTQIA+ friendly colleges. Tufts also has its share of queer student organizations including peer-leader programs, LGBTQ housing communities, and an LGBTQ+ Center that host guest speakers, educational and social events, and activities for students to enjoy. Tufts student health insurance plan also provides coverage for gender-affirming care which spans hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery. The university is also located in Massachusetts, which is famously the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
The University of Colorado at Boulder has one of the most easy to navigate websites for LGBTQ+ student resources. Find housing information, community, health care, financial aid, educational materials and more all in one place. Here you can choose from student and faculty support groups to join, get access to mental and medical care including hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery through the school’s healthcare plan and learn more about all-gender restrooms, locker rooms, and housing around campus.
Moving to a big city like Chicago can get overwhelming when starting out in college, but this university makes queer students feel at home with access to mental health resources like group and individual therapy, along with virtual programming, educational resources, and gender-neutral bathrooms. The university’s site even provides tools to learn more about transitioning and how family dynamics are affected by gender or sexual identity.
Though your first thought of Kansas might not be that it’s a haven for LGBTQ+ people, you might be surprised to find that Kansas City was recently named a sanctuary city for the queer community. Kansas State also continuously appears among the highest ranks for LGBTQ+ friendly universities. On a Best Colleges rating, Kansas State was awarded five stars for its inclusive campus environment. This school has a Sexuality and Gender Alliance, the school’s oldest LGBTQ+ organization on campus, which is also open to the surrounding community. Kansas State also regularly hosts LGBTQ events like a back to school picnic, adventure hike, Halloween festivities, and more.
Another place that has recently declared itself an LGBTQ+ sanctuary city is Lake Worth Beach, Florida, home to the highly-rated queer-friendly University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion on campus offers online educational resources on pronouns, transitioning, and broader topics like identity and health. The LGBTQ+ Center hosts fun events like Coming Out Week, Lavender Graduation, and film screenings. Students can also join the Pride Club, which is open to all students.