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10 Queer-Friendly Colleges To Have On Your Radar

Applying to college is a big deal, and choosing somewhere you want to spend the next few years of your life can be super intimidating — trust me, I’ve been there! But one of the best ways to help you feel more confident in your choice is by choosing a school that offers whatever is most important to you. Of course, that will vary greatly from person to person; it might be your school’s location, course options, meal plan, or (if you’re me) whether it has a women- and nonbinary folks-only day every week at the on campus gym. No matter what your priorities are, you should always be true to what you want when choosing a college. 

For many, a major deciding factor in what school to choose is whether a campus is queer-friendly. Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community or simply an ally who wants to be in an environment that shares your values, this factor is a big one! With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most queer-friendly college campuses in North America to consider. And if you’re already enrolled and your school isn’t on this list, don’t worry! Most colleges have vibrant, accepting LGBTQ+ communities to be part of — maybe you and your new friends will even decide to travel out to one of the schools below for a fun weekend visit!

Toronto Metropolitan University

In the heart of downtown Toronto, TMU has built a reputation for being queer-friendly in comparison to other schools in Canada. Based on a survey from 2014, TMU ranked second on Campus Mental Health’s list of Canadian universities and colleges for safe and accepting campuses. Since that list was published, the university has continued to live up to its reputation. The campus has “The Queer Space,” which is a part of the student’s union, and prioritizes queer students’ safety on and off campus. Toronto is also the home of what locals call “The Village,” which is known for its queer nightlife and queer businesses. In a broader sense, Canada was named one of the safest countries for LGBTQIA+ travel, according to a 2023 report from Asher and Lyric Fergusson. So, if you aren’t from Canada and are considering studying internationally, TMU might be worth putting high on your list. 

Miami University

Miami University rates 4.5/5 on the Campus Pride Index, an online tool run by Campus Pride, a nonprofit that works with students and campuses in order to create safer college and university environments for queer students. (If you see a Campus Pride Index ranking on this list, that basically means both the school’s LGBTQ+ students and the Campus Pride Index database rate the campus very high for having a queer-friendly environment.) Located in Oxford, Ohio, Miami U has lots of campus-wide queer-related groups like Spectrum, QTFSA, GSPA, and Pride. The school’s housing and student life services for queer students are the most highly regarded according to Campus Pride Index, with a 5-star rating on the database.

Adelphi University 

According to statistics and student testimonies on Campus Pride Index (where it has an impressive 5/5 stars), Adelphi ranks high in regard to all things queer-friendly. Adelphi prides itself on being a small school, where community-mindedness comes first. “With small classes and a close-knit campus community, we provide an environment where you’ll get to know your professors and fellow students and receive a personalized education,” says the opening message on LGBTQIA+ Adelphi’s website. “Here, you’ll find a community of like-minded peers — and a campus community that’s more like a family.” Adelphi offers gender-inclusive housing, and has many different on campus resources, groups, programs, and organizations that are centered around the diversity and inclusion of queer students. 

Rutgers University

Rutgers, the State University in New Jersey, is rated 5 stars on the Campus Pride Index. It doesn’t take a deep dive on the school’s website to find events for queer folks when they are initially welcomed onto campus in their first year. (There were four in September 2023 alone!) Rutgers also has it own unique way of celebrating Pride, “GAYpril,” which is a term coined by students for their own campus pride month. The whole month of April acts as a pseudo Pride month just for the Rutgers community, and there are a ton of events throughout the whole month. Not only is this a unique concept, but it is also a great way for this campus to create a queer-friendly space by offering more ways to celebrate its LGBTQ+ students.

Kansas State University 

Kansas State University was listed on the Top 25 schools for LGBTQIA+ students by College Consensus in 2019, and has a perfect 5 stars on the Campus Pride Index. Kansas State is considered the most queer-friendly campus in the state, and has a 93 out of 100 on the Campus Pride Index’s scale of inclusive policies, groups, and activities. The school’s on-campus office for diversity and inclusion is called “The Spectrum Center,” and houses many resources, such as book and film recommendations, and material on understanding pronouns, terminology, and inclusive language. There are also scholarships specifically for queer students! Additionally, KSU houses the national OStem program, which fosters the careers and leadership skills of queer students in STEM fields. Kansas State is of course a big school, but the campus has lots of ways for queer folk to find community within the bigger environment of a large campus. 

Princeton University 

For those students who want a queer-friendly space on their campus, but also have prestige and academic rigor high on their list of requirements for their college education, Princeton might be the right choice. Of all the Ivy League schools, Princeton stands out in terms of the school’s GSRC (Gender + Sexuality Resource Center), which has a comprehensive online platform that serves as a helpful resource for those who are trying to better understand the queer community and their place in it. The resource center is a very easy way for students to find their community within the Princeton campus. Also, Princeton has one of the most active asexual student groups in the country, according to the Princeton website.  

Brown University

A 2023 poll by the Brown Daily Herald found 38% of students at Brown University self-identify as LGBTQIA+. This is a huge percentage, at five times the national rate, but students at Brown aren’t shocked. “Honestly I’m not that surprised by that statistic… At Brown, there’s no social pressure to fit into a box or hide your identity,” one anonymous student said to the New York Post in 2023. With such a large queer population on the campus, I wasn’t surprised to find that its LGBTQ Center lives up to the hype. At their on-campus location, the center hosts the Gender Affirming Closet, formerly known as the Queer Closet, where students can go to find clothing, makeup, and other necessities for queer and trans folk, such as binders, tape, and more. The school’s resources also include lists of queer conferences, academic journals, and other general queer media.  

University of Maryland, College Park

The University of Maryland’s College Park Campus has been in the Campus Pride Top 25 schools for LGBTQ students for the past three years, and was voted the most queer-friendly campus by Campus Pride Index and Best Colleges. They have their own unique opportunities for queer students, such as the Lavender Leadership Honor Society, internships, and awards such as Defender of Diversity, Champion of our Community, Graduate Student Involvement, and more. 

San Diego State University 

San Diego State University was the first school in California — and the second in the U.S. — to offer a LGBTQ+ Studies program, according to the program’s website. Additionally, according to The National Society of Leadership and Success, San Diego State was also one of the Top 10 schools for LGBTQIA+ students in 2022. It has a 5-star rating from Campus Pride Index, and made their Best of the Best List in 2023. The SDSU Pride Center hosts the Pride House, which is a mentorship program for students and is in collaboration with the LGBTQ+ Studies program. The Pride house is not only a form of peer mentorship, but also has a for-credit course for students where they can explore their identity and learn more about their place in the community and as a queer person. 

The Pennsylvania State University

The Pennsylvania State University is ranked 5/5 on the Campus Pride Index, and is also on the Top 25 queer-friendly colleges list by College Consensus. Penn State has queer discussion groups and mentorship programs for its queer students, and has resources for trans students as well. For incoming first-year students, Penn State has Queer Peers, which is specifically for new students who are looking to find a community on campus. The events include scavenger hunts, dinners, and a gameshow throwdown, all great ways to engage socially on campus with other new queer students!

Julia Dwyer

Toronto MU '25

Julia is an English major at TMU and has lived in Toronto her whole life. She is passionate about women and the things they create, book adaptations, and really good stories with flawed, loveable characters. When she's not procrastinating, studying, or buying expensive coffee on campus, you can find her rewatching Pride and Prejudice, reading everything that Emily Henry publishes, and wishing she could be eating apple pie.