Saturday, September 16, 2006

Is This Campus Gay-Friendly?

A few years ago when we found out our son was gay, it was in the midst of high school and the college application process. That new-found bit of information literally changed everything about the way we were going about deciding where he would apply. All of a sudden, universities that I thought I’d like to see him attend became big question marks either because they were too conservative or the city in which they were located was too conservative. I really, really wanted information about the school and campus life, and also about the city in which the school was located, but for different reasons than before. And the kind of information I sought was not easily attainable.

After much discussion, my son and I decided that the number one priority was making sure that starting college also marked the beginning of a new life as an out gay man. I never ever wanted him to live with a big secret hanging over his head again. And that is why it became so important that he find a university in which he could feel comfortable being who he was. So when I read today about a new College Guide that is now available to LGBT students, I was thrilled:

“The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students” (Alyson Books) profiles 100 of the country’s “best campuses” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, and it arrives at a time when gay students are more vocal and visible.

“It’s looking more like half or most gay and lesbian Americans are coming out before they get to college,” said Bruce Steele, the guide’s editor in chief. “Unlike in the past, the experience they will have on a campus is something they can think about before they go to college.”

Now maybe other kids like my son will be spared the dilemma he faced and won’t feel compelled to do what he did ---- include an essay about being gay in with each and every application he sent ---- and let the chips fall where they may. Share

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