Colleges and universities located in California often appear on national rankings of the most LGBT-friendly schools. Those located in the Bay Area are more likely to receive high rankings.
Bay Times looked at rankings from numerous sources, including The Princeton Review, Campus Pride, College Express, The Advocate and others.
There are a variety of ways LGBT-friendliness can be gauged. Among these are the presence on campus of LGBT centers and âSafe Spaceâ locations, Pride groups, support and mentoring programs, designated gender neutral residence areas, and credit-granting courses including individual classes or workshops and in some cases minors and majors in LGBT or gender studies.
Based on our findings, we present our own composite list of those located in the Bay Area and beyond in California.
The LGBT Community Resources Center, located in the Fire Truck House at Stanford, provides welcoming space and connects students to campus resources through the Community Academic Support and Advising (CASA) program. Queer Awareness Days (QuAD) are conducted to nurture student-, faculty- and staff-initiated programs. The CASA Weekly Lunch Series is a series of lunch workshops coordinated by mentors on selected topics. The SOSAS (Safe and Open Spaces at Stanford) program offers student-run outreach and diversity workshops for classes, faculty and staff teams, administrators and student residences. More than 20 affiliated groups are active for undergraduate or graduate level students.
Queer Volunteer Student Organizations (QVSOs) include the Green Library LGB Studies Research Guide, Biversity, Queer-Straight Alliance, Queer & Asian, BlaQs, La Familiar, Indigenous Queers, Stanford Students for Queer Liberation, National Marriage Boycott, Queer Spirit, Jewish Queers, GradQ, LGBTMeds, OutLaw, Out4Biz and Schoolâs Out. Campus Partners include Stanford Pride Alumni, Feminist/Queer Studies, Sexual Health Peer Resource Center, Vaden Health Center GLBT Resources, Queer Straight Alliance, Queer Studies Coalition and others.
University of California, Berkeley
The Department of Gender & Womenâs Studies offers an innovative interdisciplinary undergraduate minor program in LGBT Studies. The Gender Equity Resource Center oversees on-campus LGBT themed organizations and groups and maintains a coordinator of LGBT Programs and Services.
There are a number of LGBT-themed groups for graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff. Among these are the Boalt Hall Queer Caucus (law students and their friends, families and allies); Cal Queer & Asian; Gamma Rho Lambda sorority; Khush: South Asian Queer, Questioning and LGBT Space; Q@Haas, Queer Alliance & Resource Center, Queer Continuum, Queer Diversions, Queer Grads, Queer People of Color, Queer Straight Alliance, Queer Womyn @ Berkeley, Sigma Epsilon Omega Fraternity, Student Coalition for Marriage Equality, T-Cal: A Transgender & Gender Non-Confirming Space, Young Queers United for Empowerment; Zawadi: Black GLBT Community at Cal; and Queer Alliance and Resource Center.
The Lavender Cal Staff & Faculty Network is an organization for LGBTQI staff and faculty at UC Berkeley. The Chancellorâs Advisory Committee on the LGBT Community at Cal is a standing committee reporting to the Chancellor and comprised of staff, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. The University of California LGBTI Association exists for the purpose of supporting and promoting at the system wide level the University of California community with respect to diverse sexual and/or gender orientations.
University of California, Santa Cruz
UC Santa Cruz is noted as a pioneering school for its positive environment, programs, services and student coalitions. Coordinated from the Lionel Cantu Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Intersex Resource Center, UCSC offers on-going activities for students including GLBT âholidaysâ and the Rainbow Graduation Ceremony. UC Santa Cruz wil host the 2013 Western Regional LGBTQIA College Conference, February 15-17.
Humboldt State University â Arcata
Humboldt State University is noted for its Safe Space program offering information and activities on campus. The Eric Rofes Multicultural Queer Resource Center produces LGBT-focused activities, including National Coming Out Day, Queer Community Reception, HomoComing, Trans Week of Remembrance, KINK on Campus, National Day of Silence and Night of Noise. The campus includes a gender neutral housing area and offers the Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies (CRGS) undergraduate program.
San Diego State University
In January 2012, San Diego State became the second college or university in North America to have a major in LGBT Studies. A minor in LGBT studies has been offered since 2009.
SDSU has a number of events throughout the year that promote unity, education, awareness and visibility in the LGBT community on and off campus. Program opportunities range from lectures, workshops, social activities, and training sessions which facilitate a proactive campus climate while celebrating the cultures of a rich and diverse community.
Annual activities include Welcome Week LGBT Reception, Safe Zones Ally Training, Big Gay BBQ, AIDS Walk, Rainbow Flag Raising, LGBT College Fair, San Diego Pride Parade and Lavender Graduation.
LGBTQ organizations include the LGBT Student Union, Gamma Rho Lambda Soroity and the Pride Action Committee.
San Francisco State University
The National Centers on Sexuality (NCS) at SFSU includes three collaborative organizations: Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, Department of Sexuality Studies and National Sexuality Resource Center.
The Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality opened in 2004 coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Kinseyâs book on womenâs sexuality. CRGS fosters innovative approaches to the study of sexuality embracing a model of sexuality as an anticipated, healthy developmental process of the human condition.
San Francisco State is the home of the nationally recognized Family Acceptance Project which conducts research and helps parents and caregivers support their LGBT children, to reduce their risk for depression, suicide, substance abuse and HIV infection and to promote their well-being.
Pride at SF State is a committee of faculty, staff and students that is committed to making San Francisco State University a safe and welcoming community for people of all sexualities and gender identities. Price activities include National Coming Out Week, Queer Yo Mind at SF State, and the Pride Prom at SFSU. Student organizations include EGAY (Everything Great About You), an LGBT and ally network; and Queer Alliance, a safe place and outlet for students of all genders, sexualities and identities. Pride also coordinates scholarships for LGBT students.
University of California, Los Angeles
The LGBT Campus Resource Center at UCLA provides a variety of resources and services, and coordinates student, faculty & staff and alumni organizations. The Center began in 1995, but traces its origins to the 1950s and 60s. In 1974 the first Gay Awareness Week was held and in 1976 UCLAâs Chancellor issued a direction that departments and programs would not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
LGBT student organizations include the Queer Alliance, Cornerstone, Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity, Gamma Rho Lambda Sorority, OutWrite News Magazine, TransUP, UCLA Lambda Graduate Student Network, Out@ Anderson School of Management, OUTLaw, MedGLO, Library & Archive OUTreach, Social Welfare LGBTQA Caucus and Queers for Public Health.
Greek Chat is a confidential support group for out, closeted and questioning students in Fraternities and Sororities. The UCLA Library maintains an LGBT Studies Research Guide with information on catalogs, major databases and other resrouces.
University of California, Riverside
UC Riverside provides a state-of-the-art online LGBT Resource Center. Itâs facilities include the David Bohnett CybreCenter which is a âSafe Spaceâ for UCR students to gather and network. Through the CORE (Community OUTreach Educators) peer education is provided by trained volunteers. A network of supportive students, faculty and staff are visible on campus through display of âALLY placardsâ outside offices and resident hall rooms. The Peer Connections is an online peer chat and mentoring program. Tuesday Talks are hosted gatherings facilitated at the LGBT Resource Center.
A series of âAnnual Traditionsâ events gives an on-going schedule of signature celebrations such as the Fall Welcome, Q-Camp, Trans Remeberance Day, Dragalicious Drag Ball, Coming Out Monologues, Pride Prom, Lambda Celebrations and Regional Conferences.
The Topics & Resources Library makes available films, books and magazines, and a well-developed awards program presents awards, scholarships, internships and financial aid. A minor is LGBTIT Studies is available as are student organizations, and housing needs are addressed through services at Stonewall Hall.
University of California, Santa Barbara
The Department of Feminist Studies offers a minor in LGBTQ Studies. Among resources available at the Davidson Library is a research guide supporting scholars doing LGBTQ related research. The Libraryâs Andelson Collection.
Also on campus, located in the Student Resource Building, is the Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity where students, staff and faculty can gather in the âRainbow Lounge.â The David Bohnett Cyber Center is hosed in the Resource Center providing Internet access.
An e-mail list and events calendar are maintained and used to inform LGBTQ students of upcoming events. The Safe Zone project provides training and signs to post outside offices and other relevant spaces. A Rainbow Housing program, offering gender inclusive residential space.
University of Southern California
This LGBT Resource Centers (LGBTRC), established in 2005, sponsors Ally Orientation and Introduction Session for USC students, faculty and staff members. Participants learn appropriate resources to assist students with their personal development that includes the coming out process and self-identification within the LGBT community. In addition to resources, participants explore the anxieties, frustrations and hardships students deal with as they come to terms with their sexuality and/or gender identity. Participants receive a safe zone sticker to display in their workplace identifying their Ally identity and affiliation with the LGBT community.
Food and refreshments are provided.
At USC, LGBT-related organizations include LGBTQ Faculty & Staff Alliance, Faculty & Staff Ally program, Lambda LGBT Alumni Association, LGBT Peer Mentoring Program, University Rap, Generation Queer and more.
Undergraduate student organizations include Queer & Ally Student Assembly, Ally Alliance, Freshman Advocacy Board, Genesis 9?13, Jewish Alliances for GLBTâs & Straights, OUTreach, Rainbow Scholars and Trojans for Equailty. For graduate students, organizations include the Marshall School of Business Gay & Lesbian Association (GALA), Medical Gay & Lesbian Organization (MedGLO), School of Social Work Rainbow Alliance Caucus, OUTLaw, Educators for Queer Alliance (EQuAL) and Queer Cuts for students in the School of Cinematic Arts.
Rainbow Floor, established in 1997, is a special interest residential community for LGBT students and their supportive Allies.
City College of San Francisco
In 1989, City College of San Francisco revolutionized LGBT and queer studies when Jack Collins established Americaâs very first department promoting the inchoate field. Founded upon Dan Allenâs pioneering 1972 gay literature course taught in the English department, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Studies Department really wowed students, teachers, and administrators when it launched, attracting hundreds of enrollees for some of its courses. Because the school sits in one of the worldâs most LGBT-friendly cities, the classes beneath the organizationâs umbrella often benefit from the surrounding communitiesâ participation and input. (Source: Gay Menâs Health Crisis)
Other US Colleges Frequently Ranked as LGBT-Friendly
Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA
Emerson College, Boston, MA
Mills College, Oakland, CA
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
New York University, New York City
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
Penn State University
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
Smith College, Northampton, MA
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
University of Pennsylvania, University Park, PA
Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
Other California Schools Ranked by Campus Pride
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
California State University, Long Beach
California State University, East Bay
California State University, San Marcos
Claremont Colleges, Pomona & Scripps
Napa Valley College, Napa
San Jose State University
Sierra College, Rocklin
UC Hastings College of the Law
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Merced
University of California, San Diego
University of San Diego
University of the Pacific, Stockton
Princeton Reviewâs List of LGBT-Unfriendly
1. Grove City College, Grove City, PA
2. Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, VA
3. College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, MO
4. Wheaton College, Wheaton College, IL
5. Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, IN
6. Catholic University of America, Washington, D
7. Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
8. Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
9. University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
10. Baylor University, Waco, TX
11. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI
12. Brigham Young University, Utah
13. Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
14. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, CA
15. University of Dallas, Irving, TX
16. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
17. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
18. Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI
19. Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA
20. University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
Some LGBT-Related Groups to Know About
1. Campus Pride - A national organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students. Founded in the Fall of 2001, the organization maintains an index (LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index) considered to be the most comprehensive national benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to become more LGBT-friendly. An annual ranking of the Top LGBT-Friendly Colleges is the most frequently cited source of rankings.
2. The Point Foundation -A resource organization for LGBT students, Point promotes change through education, mentorship, leadership development and community service training, and provides its scholars with the financial ability to attend the nationâs foremost higher educational institutions.
3. GLSEN - GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. www.glsen.org
4. Gay Straight Alliance Network - A national network organization of student-run clubs in high schools or middle schools that bring together LGBTQ and straight students to support each other, provide a safe place to socialize and create a platform for activism to fight homophobia and transphobia. www.gsanetwork.org
5. PFLAG â Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays - Now in its 40th Anniversary, PFLAG is comprised of members including parents, families, friends straight allies and LGBT people. The organization has local chapters, regional affiliates and a staffed national office. The organizationâs mission is to provide support, education and advocacy. www.pflag.org
LGBT Scholarship Providers
Generation Equality Scholarships
League Foundation at AT&T LGBT Scholarship
Live Out Loud Foundation Scholarship
Malyon-Smith Scholarship Award for Graduate psychology Students
National Association of Social Workers Lesbian Studies Scholarship
National Gay & Lesbian Journalism Scholarship
National Gay Pilotâs Association Scholarship
The Point Foundation â LGBT Scholars Program