Emory makes list of top universities in the South for LGBT students

It’s good to be a gay student at Emory University, and Campus Pride is recognizing it by including the Atlanta school as one of the seven bravest campuses for LGBT students in the South.

Campus Pride, a national nonprofit working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students, cited many reasons why Emory made the cut, including having the region’s first LGBT support office (Emory University Office of LGBT Life), jumping into the Chick-Fil-A controversy, educational programming like Safe Space training and Lunch ‘N’ Learn events, the Pride Awards, weekly queer discussion groups, the school’s recent expansion of gender-neutral housing options and more.

The other schools joining Emory on the list are the College of Charleston, North Carolina Central University, Tulane, University of Richmond, University of Houston and Western Kentucky.

Here’s the organization’s breakdown on why Emory deserves the recognition:

Over the last 25 years, Emory University has strived to epitomize the brave, LGBT-friendly campus. The private research university is located in the diverse metropolitan area of Atlanta and has long been a leader in LGBT support services in higher education, especially in the South. The campus had the first LGBT support office in the Southeast, opening in 1991, which is now the 10th oldest in the country. Student organizing at Emory has always been a strong component to advocating for LGBTQ rights, dating back to the 1990s and even more recently with the Chick-fil-A controversy.

Emory has allowed LGBTQ students to have an active voice in making decisions, especially when it comes to annual programming and participation in national events. Emory’s Office of LGBT Life offers a variety of programs and events to support students and provide opportunities to the entire campus community. The office holds educational programming, such as Safe Space training and Lunch ‘N’ Learn events, to increase campus awareness about LGBTQ issues and concerns. It also has major events, such as an annual drag show and Pride Awards to develop a stronger sense of community for LGBTQ students on campus. The office recently added centered career nights, where students can foster relationships with LGBTQ and supportive professors, staff, alumni, and other professionals in their chosen career field.

Emory’s Office of LGBT Life also hosts student-facilitated queer discussion groups that meet weekly. These discussion groups provide students with safe spaces in which to discuss different aspects of their identities. These discussion groups include a queer and Asian group, a queer students of color group, a bisexual/pansexual group, a queer men’s group, and a transforming gender discussion group.

Emory has ranked consistently in the Campus Pride Top 25 LGBTQ-friendly list annually and holds five stars out of five on the Campus Pride Index. Emory also participates in Campus Pride’s LGBT-friendly college fairs, a program designed to address the concerns of LGBT and ally students related to academics, student life, and campus safety. The school just expanded its gender-neutral housing options.

psaunders@thegavoice.com | @patricksaunders