For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
Display screen shot 2015 10 04 at 12.00.58 pm
Oct 04 2015
by Sandy Gooen

31 Queer Facts All College Students Should Know

By Sandy Gooen - Oct 04 2015

October is Queer Awareness month at my university, Barnard College, and Columbia University. So here are 31 important queer facts all college students should know. 

1. Matthew Shepard (the name may sound familiar because of the play, The Laramie Project) was a Student at UWyoming. He was killed in 1998, and is why the LGBTQIA+ community is protected by federal hate crime laws. 

2. Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student, committed suicide following harassment and blackmail related to his sexual orientation in 2010. 

3.The NCAA added sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy in 2000.

4. UC Berkley taught the first LGBTQ studies course in 1970.

5. UMichigan created the first LGBT college programs office in 1971.

6. Oberlin had the first openly gay athletic director in 1998. His name is Michael Muska.

7. Kinsey Institute at Indiana University included homosexuality in its study in 1948.

8. In 1937, Texas Christian University formed an Oscar Wilde study circle to discuss his life. The founder, Morris Kight, went on to be a Gay and Lesbian activist. 

9.  In 1992, University of Iowa extended health benefits to LGBT employees and their same-sex partners.

10. The National Lesbian Conference at UCLA in 1973 brought together over 2000 gay women to begin activist organizations.

11.  University of Buffalo had an Lesbian Studies 101 Course in 1972.

12. The current 25 most LGBT friendly colleges and universities are listed on

13. University of Arizona's Pride Alliance started in the 1990s.

14. There are a number of LGBT fraternities and sororities, the first of which was Delta Lambda Phi, a gay fraternity founded in 1986. 

15. There are a font of LGBTQ-related scholarships out there, and I encourage you to go out and look at them if you are interested. Here's a good website:

16. Joy Ladin is the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish academic institution. She currently teaches at Stern College of Yeshiva University in the English Department. 

17. Rev. Warren Hall, a member of the campus ministry at Seton Hall University, was fired for supporting the No H8 campaign, showing his alliance with the LGBT community. 

18. Earlier in 2015, a student at Wheaton College threw an apple at another student for questioning the treatment of gay students at the school. 

19. Another heads up: Cedarville University prohibits same-sex dating and advocacy of sex outside of a heterosexual marriage. Yes. Present tense. 

20. Much like Cedarville, Gordon College still doesn't allow "homosexual practice."

21. On the other hand, The USGA (Understanding Same-Gender Attraction) club at Bringham Young University, an LDS college, created an "It Gets Better" video, giving hope to many queer LDS people. 

22. In 2015, Incoming Duke first-years opted out of reading Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, a memoir/graphic novel with LGBT themes, due to some controversial materials that did not fit with their religious beliefs. 

23. CUNY's Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (founded in 1991) is affiliated with this LGBT history archive:

24. Two databases of professional college LGBT resources  at: and

25. Larry Kramer, author of the Normal Heart, offered a $4 million endowment for LGBT studies to Yale. There was conflict and controversy that ended in Kramer writing an article against them in the New York Times. Thanks to Larry Kramer's brother's donation, there is now an initiative for LGBT studies in Kramer's name.

26. Harvard had a "secret court" to find out more about homosexual activity on campus after a gay student committed suicide in 1920. This led to expulsions and more suicides.

27. Crossdressing at Cornell:  Some time between 1879 and 1882, a female student and another woman dressed as a man were publicly seen dating at Cornell. This led to the expulsion of the girl, and the girl dressed up as a boy was not allowed to come to Cornell anymore.

28. The Columbia Gay Health Advocacy Project has been in operation for 30 years and is open to all Columbia University students for sexual health advising, specifically focusing on HIV/AIDS. 

29. The first openly gay college football player, Mason Darrow, made history in Fall 2015 by coming out and continuing his career as an offensive linebacker at Princeton University. 

30. Columbia University has the first university-recognized LGBT club in the country, now known as Columbia Queer Alliance, founded in 1967.

31. My school, Barnard College, taking the nod from my sister's school, Smith College, has revised its admissions policy for the Class of 2020 forward to include trans women! 

1, 3-11, 25-27 and 30 all found at

<3 Happy Queer Awareness Month!

Want to write for Fresh U? Join now
Want more Fresh U? Like us on Facebook!
Sandy Gooen - Barnard College

Sandy Gooen is a first-year at Barnard College studying neuroscience and music. She loves rugby, writing and performing. She’s best known for spontaneous jump-splits. She once took her cello, Tawny, to banquet as her date. You can check her out on Facebook as herself or on as Di Gaon!

Most Popular