LGBTQ+ Students: 4 College Deciding Factors to Think About
College is often the change in environment lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer plus (LGBTQ+) students need to discover their identity, express themselves, and meet other queer people their age. Choosing a school where they can thrive and be themselves is important. The school I attended helped me learn more about LGBTQ+ people and come to terms with my identity. There were a few deciding factors I looked for when choosing a school that would be supportive of LGBTQ+ students and create an environment where they can be themselves.
If You're an LGBTQ+ Student
Here are some things to look at for LGBTQ+ students:
- A diverse student body: One thing that stood out to me when visiting the school of my choice was the freedom of expression. A diverse student body of creative fine arts majors made for an accepting and inspiring school environment. In the other schools I attended, the students dressed all around average. There's nothing wrong with a basic outfit, but I didn't want to feel like I needed to fit the norm anymore. At a liberal arts school in New York City, everyone dressed creatively and uniquely, owning their own sense of style. I felt like I could be daring in my style and openly express my gender more than I had in high school. I didn't feel like I needed to blend in. A person's gender identity can be expressed through their bodies, hairstyle, makeup, accessories, and clothes, and those are choices we make to individualize ourselves.
- Gender-inclusive facilities: I was also pleasantly surprised to learn the school had gender-inclusive facilities. Although I did not get selected for the special LGBTQ+ housing, my first-year dorm did have a gender-neutral bathroom. I preferred using the gender-neutral bathroom before I even knew I was transgender. There were gender-neutral bathrooms here and there throughout campus as well.
- Resources and support: There was a room for the LGBTQ+ department where club meetings were held and resources were available. It was open and inviting, and I always wanted to stop in while passing by but never had the nerve to. In my senior year, I joined a Dungeons and Dragons club that had many LGBTQ+ members. At my first meetings, the dungeon master asked how many queer people were at the table. He raised his hand along with half the group. Out of fear, I did not, but I wish I did.
- Queer-focused academics: There were LGBTQ+ classes available to take. My professors often included reading materials by queer authors and with LGBTQ+ topics. The reading materials opened my mind to different ways of thinking. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to engage in LGBTQ+ topics in literature, think critically, and discuss the reading in class. I was left with an expansive knowledge of gender and sexuality that continues to grow.
I left college a completely different person than when I arrived. I knew New York City was somewhere I could thrive and be myself. I think important deciding factors when choosing what college to attend as an LGBTQ+ student are the diversity of the student body, gender-inclusive facilities, resources and support, and queer-focused academics.
If you're an LGBTQ+ student, visit the schools and ask questions. Ask yourself questions. Do you see yourself there? Will you have the freedom to be who you are?
Mitchell, H. (2023, May 11). LGBTQ+ Students: 4 College Deciding Factors to Think About, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, October 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/thelifelgbt/2023/5/lgbtq-students-4-college-deciding-factors-to-think-about