Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gay-Friendly Colleges Receive Well-Deserved Spot in the Limelight


With Gay Pride Month in full swing, Bestcollegesonline.com just released an article that recognizes various gay-friendly colleges and universities throughout the country. Entitled “10 Colleges With a History of Gay Pride,” the article highlights the top 10 educational institutions in the U.S. that are leading the way to equality with their LGBT-focused academics and student life. The top 10 colleges with a history of gay pride stretch from coast to coast. The list includes public schools with enrollment numbers upwards of 30,000 students as well as small private universities and well-known Ivy Leaguers.

City College of San Francisco (CCSF) took the number 1 spot on the list. Its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Studies Department, established in 1989 as the first of its kind in the United States, has truly laid the foundations for future developments in queer studies. Furthermore, CCSF has taken advantage of its prime location by encouraging the diverse populace of the San Francisco area to participate in and provide input for student-led projects and initiatives. All of this, combined with a staff of more than 200 out individuals, has played an integral role in helping students feel more comfortable on campus while empowering them to create change in the process.

As Americans gradually begin to accept and embrace their LGBT counterparts, colleges and universities have emerged as a hub of tolerance and understanding for the gay community. Some colleges, like CCSF, have adopted academic programs dedicated to promoting LGBT equality. Others, however, have created LGBT-friendly student groups to accomplish similar means. Take in point Indiana University: in the fall of 1995, the university established the Lambda 10 Project, which aims to increase the visibility of LGBT members of the campus Greek Life community. Even today, “it exists as the only nonprofit fully dedicated to making fraternity and sorority houses safe spaces for LGBT students.”

So whether it be through academics or student life, it is clear that American colleges and universities have experienced vast strides in improving the quality of life of LGBT students. With the education of American youth at the core of our nation’s potential for future growth, such strides cannot and will not go unnoticed. These 10 colleges and universities must serve as an example for not only other educational institutions but for businesses, corporations, and work places nationwide as well.

To see how your child’s college compares to these top institutions, check out Campus Pride’s LGBT-friendly Campus Climate Index. To read more about discrimination against LGBT students and to learn what you can do to help create a more LGBT-friendly atmosphere in your child’s school, please visit www.pflag.org/safeschools

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