Colleges Pioneering LGBTQ Education & Acceptance

HARTFORD, Conn., July 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — From 1994 to 2020, public acceptance of LGBTQ+ people rose from 46% to 72%. This meteoric rise is due, in part, to the pioneering work of American colleges and universities. 

Some began their efforts even before the American Psychological Association dropped its categorization of homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973

Given the progress, College Values Online studied and ranked the top 30 colleges that continue to find innovative ways to recognize and include the LGBTQ+ community into society.

"During pride month, we took the opportunity to examine which colleges were finding ways to break down barriers and make their campuses a safer, more inclusive space for their LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff," said Julia McCaulley, College Values Online Editor. "What we found was very encouraging. Acceptance of diversity is a crucial aspect, not only to those within the LGBTQ+ community but to everybody who works, studies, and lives on college campuses across the country. We are pleased to present the schools that earned top marks for promoting these changes!"

Here’s a sampling of  30 US Colleges That Have Made Great Strides In LGBTQ+ Acceptance

The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thanks to LGBTQ+ activists at the University of Michigan, the college made history in 1971 when it opened the first staff office for LGBTQ+ students in an American institution of higher learning. The two-person staff created a system of peer advisors trained to help LGBTQ+ students. Today, LGBTQ+ issues are promoted throughout the college. For instance, its medical school ensures that all of its students learn about LGBTQ+ health concerns. Campus Pride names it one of the best LGBTQ+ colleges in America.

University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
This university has led significant achievements in LGBTQ+ rights. Perhaps the earliest indirect accomplishment was the graduation of John Burnside, who later founded the Los Angeles Gay Liberation Front. In the 1950s, a college urologist performed one of the earliest gender-reassignment surgeries. One of its psychologists published research showing that homosexuality was not a psychological disease. Pioneering achievements continue at UCLA. For instance, the college’s health department has been tracking transgender and nonbinary experiences during the pandemic in the hopes of providing better care. 

University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon
The University of Oregon has seen more than four decades of grassroots activism by LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff, and community allies. In 1969, the University became home to the Gay People’s Alliance. The first accommodation that the college provided to LGBTQ+ people took place in 1971, when the college adopted equal employment opportunities, by stating that it would not regard any "extraneous considerations" in hiring decisions. In 1992, the college formed the Standing Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT). Today, the college encourages equality in many ways, such as the John R. Moore Scholarship, which gives students $2,000 for excelling in contributing to the LGBTQ+ community at the college.

Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
The first LGBTQ group on the Purdue University campus was the Purdue Gay Alliance, formed in 1971. A few years later, the college became home to the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Women’s Alliance. Today, the college’s LGBTQ+ Center hosts a wide range of welcoming activities. Higher Education Today notes that Purdue University has one of the best LGBTQ inclusion policies in America. 

Stanford University
Stanford, California
The Stanford Sexual Rights Forum was founded in 1965. This student organization became the first student group to advocate nationally for civil rights for LGBTQ+ people. In 1968, the college also saw the foundation of the Homophile League of Stanford University, the second homosexual student group in America. It was followed up in 1970 with the Stanford Gay Students Union. More achievements included the first gay studies course in 1973 and the tenured hiring of the first openly gay professor at the college in 1977. More recently, the college introduced the Stanford LGBT Executive Leadership Program in 2016. 

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is home to the second oldest LGBTQ+ center in America, which opened in 1982. It has grown over the years and today occupies an entire building on campus. Additionally, the college’s hospitals are renowned for LGBTQ+ patient care. In fact, in 2018, Human Rights Campaign stated that the hospitals were leading LGBTQ+ healthcare equality efforts. Fastweb names the University of Pennsylvania the most LGBTQ+-friendly college. 

For the complete list and ranking methodology, click here.

Contact: Julia McCaulley, Editor
Phone: 518-496-0845

SOURCE College Values Online