6 Ways Your Campus Can Be More LGBT Friendly

How to Make Your Campus More LGBT Friendly

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 3 March 2016 |

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lgbt friendly campusAccording to a 2012 Gallup poll, 6.4 percent of young adults aged 18-29 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. And that doesn’t include the people who identify as queer/questioning, intersex or asexual, which make up the rest of the abbreviation LGBTQIA.

So with a growing population and a focus on inclusion, colleges and universities all over the country are taking steps to become more LGBTQIA friendly than ever before.

If you are looking for ways to improve your campus, we’ve got some suggestions and examples of what other higher education campuses are doing from the rankings provided by Great Value Colleges.

1. Organize Training for Students, Faculty, Staff and Administrators

Many students going to college are uneducated about LGBTQIA issues; that’s why training is so important. And not only do students need to be educated, but so do your faculty, staff and administrators.

For example, as part of our diversity training bundle we offer a specific course, Transition to Respect, that offers guidance regarding respectful language and strategies for helping employees understand their transgender coworkers.

Also at Augsburg College, the LGBTQIA Student Services not only provides resources, but the organization also offers training to students, staff and faculty to ensure that the campus culture remains inclusive for everyone.

2. Provide Resources for Students and Faculty

LGBTQIA students are exploring their sexuality and what it means to them. They are also transitioning into adulthood and living on their own for the first time—possibly very far away from home.

Your institution can help them by providing additional resources they might need to make life a little easier during this time.

For example, UCLA’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Campus Resource Center offers a wide range of services including outreach and education, advocacy, student counseling and an ally network. Additionally, the university’s Rae Lee LGBT Center Library houses almost 4,000 works for and about LGBT people.

3. Promote Sororities and Fraternities that are LGBTQIA-Inclusive

Greek organizations provide numerous opportunities for students to make friends, socialize, volunteer in the community and grow their professional network so that when they leave school, they have a resource to turn to while job searching.

LGBTQIA students should have the same opportunities, and it’s why your school can promote sororities and fraternities that are inclusive—like Gamma Rho Lambda, the first national lesbian sorority.

For example, at the University of Texas, students who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, straight or no label can participate in Greek life by joining Gamma Rho Lambda.

4. Make Facilities Available for LGBTQIA Students

Making facilities available is another way to be more LGBTQIA friendly. This includes:

  • Housing
  • Restrooms
  • Health services
  • Resource centers
  • Athletic locker rooms

At Macalester College, the Department of Multicultural Life began an initiative to transform several restrooms on campus to gender neutral restrooms, and as of now, there are over 15 restrooms for anyone to use.

5. Offer Classes that Cover LGBTQIA Issues

Offering classes that cover LGBTQIA specific issues shows that your campus is inclusive and provides a well-rounded education to all students. Students that identify as LGBTQIA will be able to learn about struggles and accomplishments, and these classes will also offer allies a chance to learn more about the LGBTQIA population.

For example, students at Portland State University who want to learn more about LGBTQIA issues can work with advisors from the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program who will help create a course of study that matches their interests.

And finally, the willingness to offer these kinds of classes will attract diverse faculty to teach and conduct research at your institution.

6. Sponsor Student Organizations and Events

Student organizations and events allow students the opportunity to meet other people that share their interests and get involved with campus activities. They also act as a support system for students that need help getting used to life on campus.

Additionally, events are a fun way for other students not involved to become educated about LGBTQIA issues and show their support.

For example, Cornell University boasts several LGBT organizations including LGBTQA First Year Group, Ga’avah: LGBT Jewish Group, Greeks United, Mosaic—for people of color—and the Graduate and Professional Student LGBT Collective.

Conclusion

LGBTQIA people are already on your campus as students, faculty, administrators and staff, and it’s important that they feel included. By following these examples from other universities and colleges, you can ensure your school is inclusive too.

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