Going to college can be a very exciting and challenging time in a young person’s life. It is particularly challenging for GLBT students, who often face a great deal of discrimination and harassment as a result of their sexuality. Fortunately, there are a number of universities and colleges across the United States that offer a resources and organizations for GLBT students. This article, the first in a series, will discuss gay-friendly colleges in West Virginia.
Located in the beautiful college town of Huntington, West Virginia, Marshall University is a bastion of understanding in a state that has all too often been rather unaccepting of members of the GLBT community. In addition to a number of faculty that teach courses of interest to GLBT students, there are also a number of organizations on campus that provide support to gay students, including the Lambda Society (an advocacy and social organization) and a resource center that that plans events of interest, such as speakers and celebrations.
West Virginia University
West Virginia University, located in the city of Morgantown, is also a gay-friendly college. Their gay rights organization, BiGLM is the latest incarnation of a gay rights movement that has its roots in the 1970s. This organization is open and welcoming to all people and adamantly supports the rights of both students and faculty. WVU is also home to a number of faculty that teach courses of interest to GLBT students, and the surrounding city of Morgantown is also a thriving cultural center, with a number of activities perfect for GLBT students.
Shepherd University, located in the scenic eastern panhandle of West Virginia, is home to ALLIES, a gay-straight alliance that seeks to promote the understanding and acceptance of issues of interest to the GLBT student. This organization is very active in the Shepherd University community and frequently hosts such events as Pride. Furthermore, Shepherd University is located very close to Washington, D.C., so GLBT students can also have access to the numerous cultural and social resource available in this thriving area of the country.
Although Bethany College does have a religious affiliation, this hasn’t kept the college from opening up the doors of acceptance to GLBT students, in the form of the Gay Straight Alliance. This student group is committed to ensuring that students at this university attain the rights and recognition that they deserve and is responsible for a number of gay-friendly activities on campus. In addition, Bethany is located within a short distance of both Pittsburgh and Wheeling, so there are a number of opportunities available there as well.
All in all, there are a number of excellent colleges and universities in West Virginia that offer GLBT students both support and activities, so be sure to keep that in mind when making a decision about which schools you want to attend.