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Lesbian College: What are the Gayest Colleges in America?

Choosing a college is a monumental decision, but for lesbians, and queer women,  it’s more than just academic fit and campus charm. It’s about finding a vibrant community where you can thrive authentically, surrounded by acceptance and celebration. In a world that can sometimes feel unwelcoming, finding an accepting lesbian college isn’t just a bonus, it’s a lifeline.

This article isn’t about creating a “lesbian utopia” ranking (because diversity within diversity is crucial!). Instead, it’s a guide to navigating the landscape of higher education with intention, empowering you to identify institutions that actively foster inclusivity and celebrate the LGBTQ+ spectrum. We’ll dive into key factors like:

  • Campus Pride Index: Unveiling the institutions actively working towards LGBTQ+ equality through policies, resources, and initiatives.
  • Student-led communities: Highlighting vibrant lesbian and queer organizations that create safe spaces and celebrate identity.
  • Academic offerings: Exploring programs and courses that reflect diverse perspectives and challenge heteronormative narratives.
  • Location and culture: Delving into whether the surrounding environment echoes the college’s commitment to inclusivity.

We know every lesbian’s journey is unique, so consider this your compass. Whether you’re seeking a bustling, diverse metropolis or a serene, supportive haven, there’s a college out there waiting to embrace you. This guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and resources to discover your perfect academic rainbow oasis.

Agnes Scott College (Decatur, Georgia)

Agnes Scott College is a private liberal arts college for women that welcomes transgender and nonbinary students. Beyond its dedication to social justice and global engagement, Agnes Scott College shines as a beacon of LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Strong policies against discrimination and gender-inclusive facilities set the stage for a welcoming environment. Dedicated resources like the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and supportive student groups like the GSA provide vital support and community. Inclusive events spark understanding and celebrate diverse experiences, while top rankings and ongoing self-assessment initiatives underscore Agnes Scott’s unwavering commitment to creating a safe and affirming space for all. This vibrant LGBTQ+ community thrives not only on campus, but also benefits from Atlanta’s rich LGBTQ+ network, ensuring students find the resources and connections they need to flourish.

Policies and Resources:

  • Non-discrimination Policy: Agnes Scott has a strong non-discrimination policy that explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in all aspects of campus life.
  • Gender-inclusive housing and bathroom facilities: The college respects students’ diverse gender identities by offering gender-inclusive housing and restroom options, ensuring everyone feels comfortable and safe.
  • LGBTQ+ Resource Center: Agnes Scott established the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, a hub for information, support, and community building for LGBTQ+ students. The center offers educational workshops, social events, and access to confidential resources.
  • Gender Equity and Inclusion Leadership Council: The college formed this council to champion gender equity and inclusion, including LGBTQ+ concerns, addressing issues and advocating for positive change.

Community and Connection:

  • 63.2% of the enrolled students are from communities of color. 
  • Active student organizations: Several student organizations like the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) and Spectrum create a welcoming space for LGBTQ+ students to connect, socialize, and advocate for their rights.
  • Inclusive campus events: The college regularly hosts LGBTQ+-themed events, including lectures, film screenings, and cultural celebrations, fostering understanding and appreciation for diverse experiences.
  • Agnes Scott consistently ranks highly in national rankings for LGBTQ+ friendliness, such as Princeton Review’s “Top 25 LGBTQ+-Friendly Colleges”.
  • The college actively participates in initiatives like the Campus Pride Index, demonstrating its commitment to self-assessment and improvement in LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

Beyond the Campus:

  • Its location in Atlanta, a city known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ community, allows students to access additional resources and connect with a broader network.
  • Atlanta is home to one of the few remaining lesbian bars, My Sister’s Room
  • Atlanta has long been a pillar of the black queer community with many community events, activities, and resources available.

American University (Washington, D.C.)

More than just open doors, American University embraces LGBTQ+ students with a tapestry of inclusion. Strong policies shield against discrimination, while the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and gender-inclusive spaces offer vital support and comfort. Student groups like TAG and the Rainbow Terrapins create vibrant communities, while inclusive events foster understanding and celebrate diversity. American University’s commitment extends beyond campus, from its dedication to global LGBTQ+ rights to its location in the vibrant D.C. community. 

Policies and Resources:

  •  A strong non-discrimination policy ensures everyone feels protected and respected, free from bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The dedicated LGBTQ+ Resource Center provides a welcoming hub for information, peer support groups, and confidential guidance, empowering students to navigate their journeys.
  • Gender-affirming infrastructure: Housing options cater to diverse needs, offering gender-inclusive spaces and ensuring everyone feels comfortable and safe in their living environment.

Community and Connection:

  • Several active organizations like the Trans Action Group (TAG) and the Rainbow Terrapins create thriving spaces for LGBTQ+ students to connect, socialize, and advocate for their rights.
  • Inclusive campus events like drag shows, cultural celebrations, and educational workshops foster understanding and appreciation for diverse experiences, breaking down barriers and building bridges.
  • National recognition: AU consistently ranks highly in LGBTQ+ friendliness, such as Princeton Review’s “Top 25 LGBTQ+-Friendly Colleges,” indicating its ongoing commitment to inclusivity.

Beyond the Campus:

  • American University’s strong commitment to social justice extends to LGBTQ+ rights globally, offering study abroad opportunities and research initiatives focused on advancing equality worldwide.
  • Washington DC is home to several lesbian bars & queer events including, A League of Her Own.
  • Situated in the vibrant LGBTQ+ community of Washington D.C., American University’s students enjoy access to additional resources, cultural events, and a wider network of support.
queer people in a kitchen with backpacks near them

Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, New York)

Bard College is a traditional liberal arts college with exceptional programs in the fine and performing arts. In small classes taught by notable faculty, students work closely with top professionals in their fields. The school is known for LGBTQ+ inclusivity. From its commitment to global LGBTQ+ rights to its location in the Hudson Valley’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community, Bard’s reach extends beyond campus walls. More than just a safe haven, Bard empowers LGBTQ+ students to find their voices, express their authentic selves, and make a positive impact on the world.

Policies and Resources:

  • A strong non-discrimination policy ensures everyone feels protected and respected, free from bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Bard’s commitment to freedom of expression extends to supporting all forms of creative expression, including LGBTQ+-themed art, performances, and narratives.
  • Bard offers ‘The Sylvia Rivera Scholarship in Transgender Studies’ to support transgender and gender-nonconforming students enrolled in a program related to transgender studies.
  • The LGBTQ+ Resource Center is a welcoming hub for information, peer support groups, and confidential advising, empowering students to navigate their journeys with confidence.
  • Gender-affirming infrastructure: Housing options prioritize inclusivity, offering gender-neutral spaces and respecting students’ diverse gender identities.

Community and Connection:

  • The LGBTQ+ Resource Center is a welcoming hub for information, peer support groups, and confidential advising, empowering students to navigate their journeys with confidence.
  • Out​@​Bard is dedicated to the ​interests and ​concerns of LGBTQ+ identifying faculty and staff.
  • Active student organizations like Trans+ Club and Queer People of Color Club create thriving spaces for LGBTQ+ students to connect, socialize, and advocate for their rights.
  • Inclusive campus events like drag shows, film screenings, and lectures foster understanding and appreciation for diverse experiences, breaking down barriers and building bridges.

Boston University (Boston, Massachusetts)

Boston University paints a vibrant picture of LGBTQ+ inclusivity that goes beyond pinkwashing. A welcoming admissions policy and strong non-discrimination stance set the stage, while the dedicated LGBTQ+ Resource Center and supportive student groups like the LGA offer vital resources and community. Boston College champions understanding through inclusive events like drag shows and lectures, while its Jesuit values emphasize acceptance and compassion. From its commitment to global LGBTQ+ rights to its location in Boston’s thriving community, Boston College’s reach extends beyond campus walls, empowering students to flourish, express their authentic selves, and contribute positively to the world.

Policies and Resources:

  • A strong non-discrimination policy ensures everyone feels protected and respected, free from bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The LGBTQ+ Resource Center serves as a welcoming hub for information, peer support groups, and confidential guidance, empowering students to navigate their journeys.
  • Gender-affirming infrastructure: Housing options prioritize inclusivity, offering gender-neutral spaces and respecting students’ diverse gender identities.
  • LGBTQ Legal Equality Scholarship Fund at Boston University offers various scholarships for LGBTQ+ students based on merit, financial need, and academic field.

Community and Connection:

  • Active student organizations like the GLBTQIA+ Leadership Council (QLC), Graduate Pride Alliance (GPA), Lambda Law Students Association and Spectrum create thriving spaces for LGBTQ+ students to connect, socialize, and advocate for their rights.
  • Inclusive campus events: From drag shows and film screenings to lectures and workshops, BC hosts events that foster understanding and appreciation for diverse experiences, breaking down barriers and building bridges.
  • BC consistently ranks highly in LGBTQ+ friendliness, such as Princeton Review’s “Top 25 LGBTQ+-Friendly Colleges,” acknowledging its ongoing commitment to inclusivity.

Beyond the Campus:

  • Boston is known for its progressive political and social leanings, fostering a generally accepting and tolerant environment towards diverse identities, including sexual orientation.

Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island)

Brown University paints a vibrant tapestry of LGBTQ+ belonging, beyond open doors and open minds. Its inclusive admissions and anti-discrimination policy set the stage, while the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and thriving student groups like Spectrum offer vital support and community. Brown champions individuality, celebrating LGBTQ+ narratives through art, performances, and open dialogue. From its commitment to global LGBTQ+ rights to its location in Rhode Island’s growing community, Brown’s reach extends beyond campus walls. More than just a safe haven, Brown empowers LGBTQ+ students to find their voices, express their authentic selves, and make a positive impact on the world.

Policies and Resources:

  • A strong non-discrimination policy ensures everyone feels protected and respected, free from bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The LGBTQ+ Resource Center at Stonewall House is a welcoming hub for information, peer support groups, and confidential advising, empowering students to navigate their journeys with confidence. They also put on community events like mixers, socials, and game nights. 
  • The ‘Gender Affirming Closet’ provides everyday clothing, business attire, shoes, accessories, and make-up for students at no cost. 
  • Housing options prioritize inclusivity, offering gender-neutral spaces and respecting students’ diverse gender identities.
  • Brown’s LGBTQ+ Studies program offers a vibrant interdisciplinary curriculum exploring gender, sexuality, and social justice. Students can pursue a minor or take courses toward a concentration in various departments, including history, sociology, and performance studies. 

Community and Connection:

  • Active student organizations like Spectrum and Q-Lend create thriving spaces for LGBTQ+ students to connect, socialize, and advocate for their rights.
  • The Trans Action Group (TAG) at Brown University is a student-led organization that provides support, advocacy, and resources for transgender and gender-nonconforming students. They offer social events, educational workshops, and advocacy initiatives. 
  • The Trans Action Group (TAG) Scholarship supports transgender and gender-nonconforming students with demonstrated financial need.

Beyond the Campus:

  • Situated in a state with strong LGBTQ+ protections and a growing community, Brown students enjoy access to additional resources, cultural events, and a wider network of support.
queer people laying in a bed reading

Bryn Mawr College (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania)

Bryn Mawr College is an all-women’s undergraduate college and co-educational graduate school known for its rigorous academic programs and historic campus. Within this inclusive embrace, LGBTQ+ students find a home to thrive. The dedicated LGBTQ+ Resource Center offers guidance and support, while student groups like Queer Caucus provide spaces for connection and advocacy. Faculty and staff stand as allies, nurturing growth and celebrating individuality. Gender-affirming housing options honor diverse identities, and inclusive events like drag shows and lectures spark dialogue and understanding. This commitment to inclusion extends beyond campus borders, echoed in Bryn Mawr’s dedication to global LGBTQ+ rights and strengthened by its location within Philadelphia’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community. More than just a safe space, Bryn Mawr empowers students to embrace their authentic selves, find their voices, and make a positive impact on the world.

Policies and Resources:

  • As a historical women’s college, Bryn Mawr updated their admissions policies to include a range of gender identities and expressions. 
  • The LGBTQ+ Resource Center serves as a welcoming hub for information, peer support groups, and confidential advising, empowering students to navigate their journeys with confidence.
  • Gender-affirming Infrastructure: Housing options prioritize inclusivity, offering gender-neutral spaces and respecting students’ diverse gender identities.
  • Canaday’s Rainbow Alliance and Women’s Center have created a collection of books and materials focused on queer issues. 

Community and Connection:

  • Active student organizations create thriving spaces for LGBTQ+ students to connect, socialize, and advocate for their rights. Rainbow Alliance is a social, cultural, and political group. Zami+ is a group for queer BIPOC both on and off campus.
  • Bryn Mawr also has an LGBTQIA+ alumnae group that maintains a sense of belonging after graduation. 

Columbia University (New York, New York)

Columbia University is an Ivy League school in New York City, which is a selling point for queer students. Beyond open doors and acceptance in policy, Columbia University pulsates with vibrant LGBTQ+ inclusion. A diverse community welcomes every identity, protected by a strong non-discrimination shield. The LGBTQ+ Center offers warmth and guidance, student groups build bridges and amplify voices, and faculty stand as allies, celebrating individuality. Gender-neutral spaces echo this commitment, and Columbia’s dedication to global LGBTQ+ rights stretches beyond campus walls, finding strength in the city’s thriving community. Here, you’ll find not just a safe haven, but a platform to express your light, join a chorus of support, and make a positive impact on the world’s story.

Policies and Resources:

  • Columbia’s Center for the Study of Sexuality and Society houses a dynamic LGBTQ+ Studies program with undergraduate and graduate degrees. Their curriculum delves into critical theory, health, law, and activism, fostering engaged scholarship and community building.
  • Gender-affirming infrastructure: Housing options prioritize inclusivity, offering gender-neutral spaces and respecting students’ diverse gender identities.
  • The Queer and Trans Advisory Board is a collective  of undergraduates who work in partnership with Multicultural Affairs and the Queer and Trans Resource Team to identify and address LGBTQ community needs and advocacy points

Community and Connection:

  • Colombia has 20 different LGBTQ+ student organizations like The Columbia Queer Alliance an activist and social space for queer and trans students and their allies from the four undergraduate colleges. 
  • Quench (Queer + Free Lunch) is a lunch and discussion series exploring intersectional LGBTQ and ally topics.
  • CU OUT on the Town is a series of LGBTQ-, gender-, and sexuality-focused outings to events and sites around NYC.
  • The Q House is a unique residential community that provides a safe living environment for LGBTQ+ students at Columbia.

Beyond the Campus:

  • New York City as a backdrop: Located in a city renowned for its vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ community, Columbia students enjoy access to additional resources, cultural events, and a wider network of support.

Cornell University (Ithaca, New York)

Beyond open doors, Cornell University weaves a vibrant tapestry of LGBTQ+ inclusion. Acceptance guides its diverse community, with a robust non-discrimination policy and welcoming Resource Center. Student organizations like the LGBTA bridge gaps, while faculty and staff act as allies, celebrating individuality and offering gender-neutral housing. This commitment extends globally through research and study abroad, and thrives locally in Ithaca’s supportive LGBTQ+ community. At Cornell, LGBTQ+ students find not just a safe haven, but a platform to express their authentic selves, amplify their voices, and contribute to a world where belonging is the melody that unites us all.

Policies and Resources:

  • The LGBT Resource Center provides advocacy, outreach, education, support, and community to LGBTQ+ students of all identities, backgrounds, and experiences.
  • A strong non-discrimination policy ensures everyone feels protected and respected, free from bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Housing options prioritize inclusivity, offering gender-neutral spaces and respecting students’ diverse gender identities.

Community and Connection:

  • Spectrums of Color is Cornell’s program series to support, empower, and create community for QTBIPOC students. It includes keynotes, workshops, and social events. 
  • Lavender Graduation is a ceremony that celebrates the achievements of graduating undergraduate and graduate and professional students in the LGBTQIA+  community from Cornell University. 
  • The Loving House is an LGBTQ+ residence for students. In addition to creating an LGBTQ+ living space that is inclusive to all intersections of identity, the Loving House embraces honest and frank dialogues about sex, sexuality, romanticism, gender identity and expression, community development, cross-cultural understanding, and the intersections of identity.
  • The LGBTQ+ Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) liaison hosts Let’s Talk a counseling series. 

The student group Transitioning at Cornell (TAC) provides additional services for trans and gender diverse students.

College students working together in the park

Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, Massachusetts)

Mount Holyoke College is a women’s college that is gender diverse. offering a rich liberal arts education and opportunities for international study and research. Mount Holyoke is renowned for educating women leaders, from medical pioneers to Pulitzer Prize–winning playwrights. The oldest of the Seven Sister colleges, Mount Holyoke is practically synonymous with queer culture. 

Policies and Resources:

  • The Jeannette Marks House (the Marks) is a Mount Holyoke’s LGBTQ+ Center offering campus support, programing and an LGBTQ+ resource library. 
  • A strong non-discrimination policy ensures everyone feels protected and respected, free from bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The Lyon’s Legacy Loan Fund is available to provide assistance to MHC students who’ve lost support from their families for coming out as LBGTQIA+
  • Gender affirming health services are provided by The health center at Mount Holyoke College including, hormones, lab testing, and Letter writing for hormone therapy, gender marker changes, or gender-affirming surgeries.

Community and Connection:

  • Queer student groups on campus such as Student Government Association Lavender Committee, Gender+, FAMILIA for BIPOC students and CFAA for Asexual/Aromantic students. 
  • Several Living-learning communities are available on campus for LGBTQ+ students including Lyon’s Legacy, Mary Woolley, Gloria Anzaldúa for LGBTQ+ students of color

Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)

From dedicated advocacy at the LGBTQ Resource Center to affirming healthcare and vibrant student groups like Rainbow Alliance and Spectrum, Northwestern University offers a comprehensive toolkit for LGBTQ students to flourish. Inclusive housing, mental health support, and a strong policy framework further bolster a welcoming environment where students can thrive and contribute confidently to the diverse campus community.

Policies and Resources:

  • The LGBTQ Resource Center (GSRC): Your one-stop shop for all things LGBTQ at Northwestern. The GSRC provides guidance, advocacy, and a vibrant community space. They host social events, workshops, and resource fairs, and connect students with relevant support services.
  • Gender & Sexuality Studies Program: Explore LGBTQ identities and experiences through academic courses and engage in meaningful dialogue with faculty and peers.
  • Non-discrimination Policy: Protects students from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in all aspects of campus life.
  • Inclusive Housing: Students can choose gender-inclusive housing options and request roommates based on shared interests and values.

Community and Connection:

  • Rainbow Alliance: Northwestern’s largest LGBTQ student organization, hosting social events, advocacy campaigns, and fostering a sense of community.
  • Spectrum: A thriving resource for transgender and non-binary students, offering peer support, educational workshops, and advocacy initiatives.
  • Numerous LGBTQ-inclusive student groups: Find your tribe with groups like NU’s chapter of GLSEN, the Queer Gaming Collective, and many more, catering to diverse interests and identities.

More lesbian college recommendations:

  • Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey) 
  • Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey) 
  • Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, New York)
  • Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts) 
  • Spelman College (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Stanford University (Stanford, California) 
  • The University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois) 
  • University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, California) 
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California) 
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
  • University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts)

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