7 Trans* Friendly MSIs

by Tania Irwin

In light of November being Transgender Awareness Month, we are taking the time out to highlight Minority Serving Institutions across the nation that are dedicated to creating a safe space for their LGBTQ students, including transgender and gender non-conforming students. This week’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features 7 Minority Serving Institutions that are known for being trans* friendly.


1) University of California at Riverside (AANAPISI & HSI) – Riverside, California


UCR was the first public college in the U.S. to offer gender-inclusive housing for both incoming and returning students. In 2013, UCR collaborated with eight other campuses to organize the country’s first intercampus retreat for transgender and gender-questioning college students.Through its LGBT Resource Center, UCR offers an ally-training program to educate students about the experiences of trans* people, and year-round programming such as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

2) University of Illinois at Chicago (AANAPISI) – Chicago, Illinois


UIC’s Gender and Sexuality Center has made a commitment to collaborating with various departments across campus that are invested in LGBTQ inclusion to ensure that UIC is a welcoming and supporting learning community. Some of their student organizations include: Queers and Allies in Health, UIC Pride, and the Gender Umbrella Society. To demonstrate the strong commitment to LGBTQ inclusivity, UIC has established The CCSLGBTQPA (Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of LGBTQ People and Allies) that works with the Chancellor and Provost to address any and all issues and concerns of the LGBTQ community. We support you UIC!


3) North Carolina Central University (HBCU) – Durham, North Carolina


On April 9, 2013, after a nine-year process, NCCU became the second HBCU in the nation and the first in North Carolina to open a LGBTQ support center. NCCU has implemented LGBTQ organizations such as: COLORS, a student organization dedicated to creating a safe equitable community for all members; Polychromes, a support group for LGBTQ faculty and staff; DOMS, a student organization for lesbian-identified students; Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for gay and bisexual men; and OutLAW for LGBTQ faculty, staff, and students within the school of law. All programs, organizations and initiatives encourage ally participation, especially during the implementation of the Safe Zone program.

4) University of New Mexico Main Campus (HSI) – Albuquerque, New Mexico


UNM’s LGBTQ Resource Center offers assistance to all transgender and gender-questioning students, faculty, and staff. The arm of support extends beyond the center in a multitude of transgender awareness events, safe zone training, counseling, as well as universal restrooms. Students may also find solace within the LGBTQ Art Gallery, the LGBTQ Library, the Hate/Bias Intake Center, and the LGBTQ Lounge. UNM has enacted an Out and Ally List in which members of faculty and staff have pledged to act as allies to LBTQQI members of the UNM community. Way to go, UNM!

5) San Diego State University (HSI) – San Diego, California


SDSU is the second college in the United States to offer an LGBT Studies major. Students can also pursue an undergraduate minor or graduate certificate. Equipped with a Queer Student Union and the Pride Student Center, SDSU is dedicated to creating an open, inclusive and affirming safe place for the LGBTQ community. Some of the LGBTQ student organizations include: oSTEM, OUTreach, Womyn’s Outreach Association, as well as a LGBTQ fraternity (Delta Lambda Phi) and sorority (Gamma Rho Lambda). SDSU hosts a variety of programs including but not limited to a safe zone training and a Lavender Graduation ceremony open to all students who identify as LGBTQA. We see you, SDSU!


6) University of Maryland at College Park (AANAPISI) – College Park, Maryland


The Rainbow Terrapin Network of the LGBT Equity Center cover campus-wide training on areas that include but are not limited to: LGBT ally-ship, campus-wide LGBT inclusion methods on campus, and LGBT and Transgender Advocacy Training. Not to mention the newly-launched Prince Frederick Hall, which was specifically constructed for gender-neutral housing. UMD is also dedicated to educating students on trans-related issues and topics. From the LGBT Equity Library to the LGBT Studies Research Guide and Tutorial, all students have access to over 3,000 sources of information.

7) University of Southern California (AANAPISI) – Los Angeles, California


USC has a variety of LGBT-supportive organizations for students, faculty and alumni on their campus and the surrounding community. There is an LGBT Resource Center that offers trans-friendly programs and resource to anyone within the USC community. To top it off, USC Housing also offers a Rainbow Floor. This residential community provides additional support to both undergraduate and graduate who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or allies (LGBTQA).

What other Minority Serving Institutions are taking steps to be Trans* friendly? Share in the comments below!




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