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Best LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities list includes George Mason University

Crystal Graham
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Campus Pride has released its annual Best of the Best list of the top 30 colleges and universities for LGBTQ+ students. In Virginia, George Mason University made the list.

The list is composed of campuses with exceptional work in LGBTQ+ inclusive policies, programs and practices. The Top 30 recognizes these institutions’ efforts to create safe and welcoming campuses for LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty.

“The Best of the Best list was first created in 2009 as a way to showcase colleges and universities that were committed to offering safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ students, so that students and families could make informed choices about where to pursue higher education,” said Campus Pride Founder, CEO and Executive Director Shane Mendez Windmeyer. “In today’s climate, which finds LGBTQ+ identities being used as political talking points and laws being weaponized against LGBTQ+ people, the commitment to creating campuses that welcome and protect LGBTQ+ students can not be taken for granted. The colleges and universities that made our list this year deserve this highest recognition for the efforts they have made and continue to make.”

“At a time when many Republican-controlled states are persecuting trans and nonbinary young people, it is critical for colleges – especially institutions in more supportive states – to be sanctuaries for LGBTQ+ students, and the Best of the Best colleges have worked to be places where trans and nonbinary students feel welcomed and included,” said Dr. Genny Beemyn, coordinator of the Campus Pride Trans Policy Clearinghouse.

The full Campus Pride 2023 Best of the Best list is also available online at CampusPride.org/BestoftheBest.

2023 Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities

South

  • Elon University, Elon, NC
  • George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
  • Guilford College, Greensboro, NC
  • Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY
  • University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Mid-Atlantic

  • Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
  • Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, New Brunswick, NJ
  • The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
  • University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD
  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Midwest

  • Augsburg University, Minneapolis, MN
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
  • Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
  • Oakland University, Rochester, MI
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI
  • University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, Green Bay, WI
  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
  • Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

New England

  • Tufts University, Medford, MA
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA
  • University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

West

  • San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
  • Southern Oregon University, Ashland, OR
  • University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO

Texas and Florida laws ‘endanger and harm LGBTQ+ people’

Due to the passage of anti-LGBTQ state laws in Texas and Florida, Campus Pride excluded from consideration all colleges and universities from both states in the 2023 Best of the Best list.

These campuses, in many cases, have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to safe and inclusive learning environments; however, the new anti-LGBTQ laws effectively ban inclusion and support in programs, services and policies, according to Campus Pride.

“It is important that prospective students and families know that these Texas and Florida laws endanger and harm LGBTQ+ people and create a hostile and unwelcoming learning environment before going to school there,” Windmeyer said.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.