How Gay and Lesbian Students Can Make Friends in College
How to make friends in college is a common concern for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. This is particularly true in today’s college campuses, which are more accepting than ever before. An increasing visible minority, gay, lesbian, and bisexual students collectively make up nearly 10 percent of all undergraduate students nationwide. Offering a wide variety of opinions and experiences, gay, lesbian, and bisexual students also enrich college life and culture. Creating a more tolerant and accepting campus culture often helps gay, lesbian, and bisexual students to succeed in school and society.
Creating a More Open Campus Culture. Creating an open, welcoming, and supportive campus culture is important to gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. Oftentimes, the first places gay, lesbian, and bisexual students visit on college campuses are the most welcoming, including Gay colleges, clubs, events, and organizations. Many colleges and universities work with local organizations and groups to promote awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity. Other colleges and universities also welcome LGBTQ students by having specific gender-neutral facilities and locations on campus. These areas and buildings can be a valuable source of establishing a sense of community for gay, lesbian, and bisexual college students.
Creating an Open Community. Creating an open, welcoming, and accepting community can help gay, lesbian, and bisexual students to thrive in college. Often, closeted college students spend a great deal of time away from home, avoiding friends and socializing with others. Because of this, college students may feel isolated, lonely, and isolated in their own campus community. Adding LGBTQ individuals to campus communities can provide a sense of safety for those who are trying to pursue a college degree. By inviting LGBTQ people into the college or university’s social life, it helps to create an atmosphere of acceptance that can encourage a sense of pride and self-worth in gay, lesbian, and bisexual college students.
Creating a Supportive College Environment. Creating an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive college environment for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students has many benefits for all involved. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual college students often face more forms of discrimination in the classroom and on campus than other students. Gay-positive campus activities and organizations can be a great boost to any campus’s student body, as well as a direct way to improve the climate for all students. A supportive and inclusive college environment encourages students to feel comfortable and confident about whom they are, what they believe, and how they express their sexuality.
Creating a More Pleasant Campus Environment. Creating a more accepting campus community for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, and queers can be difficult for some people. For this reason, creating a more welcoming campus community for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, and queers requires effort. However, when students see that the school is actively involved in promoting a safer and more accepting environment for its gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered, and queers students, they may feel less scared and more confident about coming to the school. Establishing an open and welcoming community for the members of a sexual orientation helps to encourage them to participate and enjoy college life on the campus.
Providing a Safe Space for Gay and Lesbian Students. The addition of a gender studies program to a college or university provides an added advantage for students who would otherwise be scared to attend classes or campus events because of potential discrimination or violence on the basis of their sexual orientation. The inclusion of a program like this also encourages more students who would otherwise not come out to attend classes or parties to do so. Gender studies offer the student a more thorough understanding of the concepts surrounding gender, sexual orientation, and gender roles. Students will learn to think critically about these concepts, giving them increased skills for building a supportive and open community as well as for working in the gender studies field.
Supporting the Rights of Gay and Lesbian Students. Some colleges have adopted policies that are supportive of the rights of gay and lesbian students. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) found support for a number of schools when it was fighting for the passage of a hate crimes bill in New York. The bill, which has yet to become law, would give protection to anyone who has been attacked, verbally harassed, or threatened in any manner because of their sexual orientation. NYC College students can take advantage of the support provided by a large number of schools to secure this important legislation. In the process, they can learn how to stand up for themselves and for the people around them.
Making friends in college is a vital process for many LGBTQ college students. While the process may seem frightening at first, it becomes more familiar after just a short period of time. It should be supported by all colleges in order to create a safe, welcoming, and accepting environment for all students. There is no reason why all colleges can’t work together to make this happen.