Top 10 LGBT-Friendly Colleges

LGBT college applicants often spend longer considering which college is right for them. Beyond standard factors like cost and admissions standards queer students also think about schools in terms of their LGBT friendliness, which includes everything from academic programs, peer support networks, and inclusive facilities.

Assessing how welcoming a school is for LGBT students and applicants takes time. Let’s take a look at 10 LGBT friendly colleges and universities in the U.S. and some of their highlights to help make the research a little easier.

Emerson College

Emerson has become a leader in inclusivity by creating offices tasked with supporting queer students. In addition to administering numerous programs and clubs for LGBT students, policies have been updated to include gender-neutral facilities as well as a process for students and faculty to change their names on school documentation without a legal name change.

Macalester College

In Minnesota, Macalester College offers “identity collectives” so people can find communities they identify with. Macalester also has a professional networking program for LGBT students and alumni, which includes resources for navigating the world outside of school as a queer professional.

Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL)

WUSTL hosts an annual, two-day retreat to cultivate leadership in LGBT students. Called Destination Q, the retreat allows students to explore their identities and learn how they can foster change in their communities.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

In 1985 the flagship UMass campus created an administrative program called the Program for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Concerns, only the third such initiative in the whole country. It was renamed the Stonewall Center in 1995, and later updates expanded resources for intergender and asexual students.

Emory University

In response to the harassment of two gay students in 1991, Emory created the Office of LGBT Life to foster equitable services for queer students. Since then, the office has expanded in order to include peer support groups, inclusive facilities and a pro-bono legal assistance program for queer people in the surrounding area.

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University of Pennsylvania

Boasting more than 25 LGBT programs, the University of Pennsylvania has created an inclusive campus for everyone. Beyond those groups, the school also has created a safe space on campus for its queer community with the LGBT Center, which includes a library and kitchen so students always have a place to go.

University of Maryland, College Park

Maryland’s flagship public university values equity for its queer students, giving them equal footing with other communities on campus. This includes the construction of a gender-neutral residence hall and the LGBT Equity Library to improve access to study materials and entertainment.


The Student Homophile League was MIT’s first LGBT group, as well as one of the first in the country. Over the decades, the school has made LGBT inclusivity part of its mission through LGBTQ@MIT, an intersectional initiative to end systemic racism within MIT as a whole and its queer community.

University of Washington

Recognizing the fluidity of gender and identity, the University of Washington now allows students to update information in the school database to reflect their gender preference and name. The Q Center is the university’s student-run resource center for counseling, events and community-building.

Tufts University

LGBT friendliness is established through years of inclusivity and Tufts wants to ensure that its queer voices the past and present can be heard. The university has an interactive timeline of its LGBT history as part of its Tufts Queer History Project, which receives updates from students and researchers.

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