Strategies to Create an LGBT-Friendly Campus

out-on-campusUpdated: August 2021

Asking the questions and considering the best strategy is the first step to creating a safer, more welcoming campus community for LGBTQ students.  Use this resource to begin your process and to hold your campus accountable for LGBTQ safety.

I. Assessment

1. Check in with your campus community. Consider strategies such as public hearings, interviews, and research surveys in your school, community, and/or state. This data can reveal the important needs, concerns, and life experiences of LGBTQ youth, their families, and school staff around you.

II. Policies

1. Enact nondiscrimination policies on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in matters of hiring, tenure, promotion, admissions, and financial aid.

2. Have policies and procedures for dealing with homophobic, and transphobic violence and harassment.

3. Have a written, inclusive, and affirming definition of “couples” that is inclusive of same-sex couples in a way that is appropriate for each institution.

4. Ensure equal access and equality of all benefits and privileges granted to all employees and students.

5. Have policies of active outreach in hiring openly LGBTQ and/or allied faculty, staff, and administrators in all segments of the campus community.

6. Actively recruit openly LGBTQ prospective students. All policies should be written, clear, consistent, accessible, and visible throughout the campus.

III. Training and Development

1. Implement workshops for the entire campus community to sensitize and educate staff, faculty, and administrators on violence prevention, suicide prevention, and specifically to the needs and experiences of LGBTQ people.

IV. Services

1. Colleges and universities provide official recognition, support, and funding of campus LGBTQ student organizations.

2. Physically safe, secure, and appropriate space with a welcoming, emotionally safe atmosphere should be available to LGBTQ organizations. These may include student social groups, activist organizations, or any other meetings.

3. Legal and fundraising support services should be available to LGBTQ students.

4. Campus housing should include LGBTQ living options.

5. University leadership should make strong, clear, public statements on a regular basis that state the college’s commitment to ending discrimination. These statements should state that violence and harassment are entirely unacceptable, and express appreciation of the value of diversity on campus, including diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

6. Colleges and universities hire “out” LGBTQ or LGBTQ-sensitive therapists/counselors, faculty, staff, and administrators.

7. Peer counselors and/or campus crisis hotline volunteers be adequately trained in sensitivity to sexuality, sexual and gender orientation/identity, and “coming out” issues.

8. Effective AIDS education, imperative for all people of all sexual and gender orientations, must be available and widespread.

9. Social activities through residence halls, Offices of Student Activities, and other organizations must be not only inclusive of all sexual and gender orientations and identities, without pressures toward heterosexuality, but actively welcoming of LGBTQ people as well as same-sex couples.

10. College and university presidents have a standing advisory committee, panel, or board, appointed or elected in consultation with LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty members.

11. Student opinion should be assessed regularly, by the above mentioned panel or in some other manner, in order to gauge the effectiveness of implemented changes.

12. Campus publications should take care to provide adequate and fair coverage of LGBTQ events and issues, both on and off campus.

13. Colleges and universities should aid students in alumni outreach.

14. Internship opportunities may also be cultivated among local LGBTQ-owned businesses and LGBTQ activist and community service organizations.

15. Official statements should recognize the diverse history of the LGBTQ community.

16. The location and availability of resources of value to LGBTQ people should be published in materials distributed to all students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

17. Personnel at the Career Planning/Placement Center, like personnel in every college area, should be sensitive to LGBTQ issues. They should be aware of employment opportunities in LGBTQ-owned or LGBTQ-friendly businesses and community service organizations.

18. While needs differ greatly at each of the hundreds of institutions of higher education, it seems clear that for many, if not most, the most critically important and invaluable resource is a LGBTQ campus resource center with a paid administrator, staff, and resources.

19. In institutions where financial resources do not allow for centers and/or administrative support for any “minorities,” there should at least be an ombudsperson or other clearly recognized, identified, and publicized as an official liaison to the campus LGBTQ community.

V. Curriculum / Educational Materials / Academic Affairs

1. Issues relating to LGBTQ people should be formally and permanently integrated into existing courses across the curriculum

2. Speakers on LGBTQ topics, and particularly those who present scholarly research on LGBTQ topics, should be brought to campus regularly.

3. Courses dealing specifically with LGBTQ issues in the humanities, natural sciences, education, social sciences, and other disciplines should be established.

4. A visiting scholar position in LGBTQ studies should be created and supported on a continuing basis.

5. College and university libraries should increase their holdings of LGBTQ books, periodicals, and computer networking systems.

6. Campus facilities should be available for regional LGBTQ studies conferences, with administrative support provided.

7. Fellowship opportunities should be created and funded for teaching and research of LGBTQ topics.

8. Scholarship and research into LGBTQ history, culture, and theory should be encouraged and supported in faculty and students.

9. All multicultural education should be inclusive of the issues, history, culture, and experiences of LGBTQ people in the United States and worldwide. Multicultural awareness (social diversity) courses should be mandatory for all students at some point during the undergraduate years.

VI. Employee Concerns

1. Policies regarding equal benefits and nondiscrimination should be made clear in recruiting brochures, informational materials, campus publications, and orientation sessions.

2. The university should aid, support, and fund the creation of LGBTQ faculty and staff discussion, support, and networking groups.

3. Trade unions and professional organizations should have inclusive policies and supportive services available to their members.

4. There should be equality in all benefits, including, for example: bereavement leave, insurance coverage, library privileges, access to gym and other recreational facilities, and listings in directories if spouses are customarily listed. In housing and other benefits, equal access must be granted to same-sex partners if benefits are available to heterosexual spouses.

5. There should be ongoing sensitivity training and staff development on LGBTQ issues for all employees.

6. Colleges and universities should cover the expenses of employees attending conferences on LGBTQ issues.

VII. Community / Off-Campus Concerns

1. Community LGBTQ groups should be invited to attend campus events as participants, guests, and event leaders and facilitators.

2. Information regarding social, religious, and other community resources should be made easily accessible to all students, staff, faculty, and administrators.

3. Counselors, administrators, and faculty should be available to parents or other community members to alleviate any concern that may arise out of the implementation of any of the above recommendations, as well as any concerns arising during their child’s coming out process, if that is the case.

4. Representatives of LGBTQ student groups from different schools should meet regularly to keep each other appraised of upcoming events, plan events together, and strengthen the LGBTQ community.

5. Publications, fundraising materials, and all other publications distributed to parents and alumni should include relevant and appropriate stories, essays, and news regarding LGBTQ issues, organizations, and events.

6. Corporations, public agencies, and government, religious, and community agencies and institutions that do not have official written policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation and, or gender identity/expression should be strongly discouraged or prohibited from on- campus employment or enlistment recruiting.


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