Campus Pride and the Q Research Institute for Higher Education conducted a research study to find out just how accepting college campuses are these days. Students, faculty and staff from approximately 40 colleges around the nation rated their experience as “out individuals.” Responses were collected from all 50 states, with close to 3,000 people participating in the survey.
This is good news, considering only data from 10 states was collected for a similar sur- vey in 2003. What is not such good news is that only 160 campuses nationwide have LGBT affirming organizations. When you learn that many students do not participate in campus life, or are not invited to by their peers because of their gender identity, one can understand why this percentage should increase.
Such surveys are important, as a pleasant campus environment is crucial to the education of the student, and the ability for LGBT faculty and staff to work for an accepting entity. As the survey is 250 pages long, Campus Pride kindly let SFGN sit in on a Webinar they broadcast last week.
Here are some notes from the webinar and report.
• Transfeminine and transmasculine students reported the most harassment as op- posed to students whom identify as either male or female.
• While there was no substantial difference between LGBT-identifying white people and people of color in terms of harass- ment people of color claimed racial identity as basis for harassment, while white people claimed sexuality or gender.
• 34% of students know of other LGBT students who have experienced sexual harassment, while 3% were victims of sexual assault.
• Only 14% of colleges have non-discrimination policies for faculty and staff, and even less offer protection for LGBT students.
• Intimidation in the name of religion often harries the life of LGBT students. A story of a student with a pride rainbow on their backpack among a crowd calling for the execution of gays via burning at the stake was especially chilling.
• 53% of respondents stated they have witnessed the harassment of other students, one can take this to mean calling a student a derogatory term because of their actual or perceived sexuality.
• One-third of LGBT students, faculty and staff have seriously considered leaving their institution because of what they experienced on campus. Many who stay do so in order to “make a difference.” One transfeminine graduate student felt the most accepted by those in her program, while she did not feel comfortable with the campus at large.
• Transfeminine individuals reported the highest rate of harassment, and discrimination on campus. Transmasculine people experienced less harassment if they did not reveal their birth gender.
However, as with anything as personal as sexuality, and gender many people may not participate in a survey which might possibly “out them” to their community, classmates, and peers. We can only hope that the increase of LGBT groups on campus in the past 10 years means further inclusion and acceptance for future generations of Freshman.