LGBTQ+ Student Resources & Support

ASO Staff Writers
Updated November 14, 2022
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Creating More Welcoming Environments For LGBTQ+ Teens And College Students

Meet the Experts

Dr. Deb Cohan

Dr. Deb Cohan, Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of South Carolina Beaufort with a specialization in Gender Studies. Former Board of Directors member at PFLAG.

Eugene Patron

Eugene Patron serves as the communications and marketing director for the Point Foundation. He focuses on creating connections and awareness and building support for a variety of causes and communities.


According to the National School Climate Report, 86 percent of LGBTQ youth reported being harassed at school, compared to 27 percent of students overall. School years can be challenging for all students, yet those who identify as LGBTQ often face additional pressures or concerns. Within this guide, LGBTQ students can find resources and information about support systems available to help them navigate both high school and college environments.

A Safe Place to Learn

Incidents can take many forms, including physical harassment, emotional or mental abuse, stronger violence, or discrimination. As the Internet has grown to include the use of various social media platforms, cyber bullying has become an issue. Bullying Statistics found that 42 percent of LGBTQ youth have experienced cyber bullying, a rate three times higher than other students.

There is hope to shift the tide; GLSEN found that half of all youth don’t understand that discriminatory language is hurtful, nor do they realize the negative consequences their words have specifically on LGBTQ youth. A few things everyone can do to maximize support for LGBTQ teens and college students include: 

Create a supportive community

1 Many schools have student or faculty-led groups that champion and empower the LGBTQ community and align them with straight allies. These groups often promote advocacy and education for the larger student body and provide an outlet for socializing, finding support and encouragement, and talking about the challenges faced on and off campus.

LGBTQ students are also encouraged to seek out mentors on their campus who can not only speak to higher administration on their behalf, but also provide a listening ear and an older voice on the challenges they commonly face. 

Create a supportive school campus

2 As further statistics and research emerge about the damaging effects of LGBTQ discrimination on school campuses, many are taking an active stance against prejudiced behavior. Whether enacting policies and disciplinary protocol for those who engage in this behavior or educating all students about the importance of equal rights for all students, a number of colleges are leading the charge in shifting thought and action. These institutions often have LGBTQ offices that encourage student advocacy, alumni relations, media awareness, and faculty support. These organizations may also hose events to educate the wider campus and provide counseling services to students facing discrimination. Advocate pulled together a list of the Top 10 trans-friendly colleges in America. 

Build outside resources

3 Outside of campus-based programs and offices, there are many local community and online resources that help to create more welcoming learning and living environments for LGBTQ students. Whether operating as a national organization with local chapters or an individual center, these programs will often work alongside colleges to help students find housing, employment, and healthcare services.

LGBTQ+ Resources for All Students

In addition to numerous LGBTQ organizations focused on particular age groups, many general programs and initiatives exist, which seek to bolster community, encourage positive dialog, and ultimately security greater equality. Some of the best nationally recognized initiatives are listed in this section.

LGBTQ+ Teens

Research has shown that LGBTQ students, no matter their level of education, have historically faced higher levels of discrimination than their straight peers. These numbers tend to be at their highest during the middle and high school years. A groundbreaking report by the Human Rights Campaign found that LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved at school. Meanwhile, 92 percent of LGBTQ students say they hear negative messages about being LGBTQ. Top sources for negative comments include school, the Internet and fellow students.

No student should ever have to experience discrimination or negative behavior, regardless of their sexual orientation. This becomes increasingly important as students start thinking about post-secondary options. A recent report found that nearly 14 percent of LGBTQ students who receive frequent verbal harassment decide not to go to college. Fortunately, many people believe this and countless organizations are working on behalf of LGBTQ teens to ensure these behaviors are eradicated over time. It’s working: 77 percent of LGBTQ youth said they know things will get better. Below, students and their allies can find helpful resources and information to support them through these years.

Local LGBTQ+ Centers

In addition to the larger organizations listed above, there are various LGBTQ Centers focused on serving local communities. Whether offering afterschool programs, counseling, mentoring, empowerment services or advocacy initiatives, these organizations provide crucial care at a pivotal time. These centers also frequently work with local schools to help create safer places for LGBTQ students to learn. Before visiting a center, students may have questions about their services. Some of these may include:


with Expert DR. DEB COHAN

Dr. Deb Cohan, Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of South Carolina Beaufort with a specialization in Gender Studies. Former Board of Directors member at PFLAG.

LGBTQ+ College Students

In addition to balancing coursework, navigating new social situations and possibly trying to work during their studies, LGBTQ college students may encounter unique challenges while undertaking their education. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that one in five college students fear for their physical safety due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. The good news is that many colleges across the nation are actively fighting to end discrimination on-campus and engender a spirit of acceptance and respect among all students, faculty and staff members.

The Campus Pride Index

Founded in 2001, Campus Pride has becoming the leading national organization for promoting safe college environments by developing student leaders and campus groups. What once started as an online community and center has now grown into a massive effort that has taken root on college campuses across the nation.

One of the most significant resources provided by the organization is the LGBTQ-Friendly Campus Pride Index. This guide is used to measure LGBTQ qualify of life across college and university campuses and promote better practices and open dialog. It also helps postsecondary institutions become more LGBTQ-friendly. According to the organization, “LGBTQ-friendly” describes a learning environment that is inclusive, welcoming and respectful for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

The Index has identified eight factors contributing to an overall LGBTQ-friendly college environment:

8 Factors Contributing to an Overall LGBTQ-Friendly College Environment

Curricula & Courses: LGBTQ-Inclusive Academics

Aside from LGBTQ Centers and student-led groups, colleges and universities can promote LGBTQ awareness and acceptance through academics, as well. Some of the best practices include:

1 Create inclusive lesson plans with positive examples of notable LGBTQ leaders. Fordham University provides an excellent resource to all faculty members that outlines LGBTQ teaching recommendations. Some of their suggestions include:

2 Offer degree programs covering gender, sexuality, diversity, and queer history and culture. A number of schools have courses and degrees that explore the spectrum of human sexuality. Some of the most interesting include:


Individual Courses

Key College Resources for LGBTQ+ Students

Aside from academic inclusion of LGBTQ topics and positive perspectives, many campuses have various other types of support systems available for LGBTQ students. Some of these include:

LGBTQ Resource Centers

Because LGBTQ students can often face unique challenges, they need unique support and resources. Colleges and universities throughout the nation now often have centers dedicated specifically to LGBTQ needs. Students can find a safe place to locate resources, support, information, and care. In addition to direct services, these departments often host various campus events to foster community, promote education of LGBTQ topics, and promote health and wellness for all students.

Online Social Media and Discussion Resources

Today’s students constantly use the Internet in a variety of ways. Universities have picked up on this trend and many now offer online forums for discussion and support, and the latest information on current news and issues within the LGBTQ community. In most cases, these forums are private and can only be accessed with proper and valid school logins.

Faculty and Staff Education Programs

Academics lead the charge in ensuring all students, regardless of sexual orientation, feel safe, valued and empowered in their classrooms. Universities now offer training and many resources to ensure faculty and staff are well-informed about inclusion of LGBTQ topics and are sensitive to discrimination.

LGBTQ Campus Events

Campus wide events deigned to celebrate and empower LGBTQ students and their allies are a great way to educate the larger campus community about LGBTQ interests. Many LGBTQ Resource Centers will host a variety of events throughout the school year. George Mason University provides a great example of a rotating event schedule. Some of their upcoming events include Pride Week, National Coming Out Day and Safe Zone Training. The school also hosts book reading groups from LGBTQ authors and scholarships for LGBTQ students.

Special On-Campus or Campus-Sponsored Housing Issues

Students have enough on their plates without worrying about feeling comfortable in their living space. Many universities provide options specifically designated for LGBTQ students, be they shared dormitory rooms, suite-style apartments, or gender-neutral accommodations. Numerous schools have also begun creating all gender bathroom facilities to ensure further inclusivity.

Other Online Resources

LGBTQ students have enough on their plates navigating the usual pressures of college life without having to worry about feeling safe or discriminated against. Resources and organizations aimed at LGBTQ college students are crucial for educating, informing, advocating, and providing resources. Some of the best organizations serving LGBTQ college students and their allies are listed below:


with Expert EUGENE PATRON The Point Foundation

Scholarships for LGBTQ+ Students

In addition to countless general scholarships, LGBTQ students have numerous funding opportunities offered by leading civil rights and advocacy organizations focused on eradicating sexual orientation discrimination. Some of the top LGBTQ-specific scholarships available include:

Pride Foundation Scholarships

The Pride Foundation


January 11

This scholarship awards LGBT students and their allies who have demonstrably contributed to the LGBTQ community. It is open to both undergraduate and graduate students hailing from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington

LGBT Scholarships

The League Foundation

$1,500 – $2,500


Students qualified to receive this funding must graduating high school students who plan on attending a college, university or trade school. As part of the application process, students will need to complete an application and two personal essays.

Point Scholarships

The Point Foundation


January 20

LGBTQ students who aspire to be leaders in their communities and in the fight for equal rights are excellent candidates for this scholarship. Selection criteria is made on “last provider” basis, meaning this scholarship fills the gap in funding not provided by other sources.

National Scholarships


$1,000 – $5,000

April 30

PFLAG awards these scholarships to graduating high school seniors who self identify as members of the LGBTQ community or as an ally. Students must also demonstrate previous commitment to furthering equality via programs, projects or activities within their high schools or communities.

Gamma Mu Scholarships

Gamma Mu Foundation

$1,000 – $2,500

March 31

Gay men under the age of 35 may apply for Gamma Mu’s scholarship, including those in both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. Preference will be giving to students who come from or plan to attend college in a rural area; who have overcome discrimination; who demonstrate leadership qualities; and who have a history of strong academic performance.

Live Out Loud Scholarships

Live Out Loud


March 4

LGBTQ students demonstrating leadership and ambition are able to apply to this scholarship, providing they are also high school seniors living in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. Students will complete an information form and six essays as part of their application.

Pink Ink Scholarship

The Queer Foundation


February 14

High School seniors may apply for this scholarship, which is awarded on the basis of an English essay competition. Students must compose an essay focused on queer theory or related topics, such as queer medical, legal or social issues.

The Levin-Goffee Scholarship

The Stonewall Foundation

Up to $12,500

August 20

This scholarship was created specifically for immigrant LGBTQI students enrolled in a New York City-based university to provide economic stability in an unfamiliar environment. Students must be full-time and should have completed at least one academic year at the time of their application.

Bob Ross Scholarship

The Association of LGBT Journalists


July 31

This scholarship was named after notable painter Bob Ross, who was a strong advocate for LGBT and AIDS rights. Students eligible to receive this award must be enrolled in a journalism or related degree program at a Northern California institution. Students who are from Northern California but attending elsewhere may also apply.

Roy Scrivner Research Grants

American Psychological Foundation


November 1

Students completing empirical and applied research focused on LGBT family psychology and/or therapy may apply for this scholarship, provided they are currently completing advanced graduate coursework. They must also be endorsed by their supervising professor and have a demonstrated commitment to working within LGBT family issues.

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