Gay-Friendly Universities That Are Actually Friendly to Lesbians

Gawker made this list/breakdown of Gay-Friendly Universities list based on Newsweek’s list of gay-friendly schools but we think they are mostly schools for rich bros who can somehow get into ivy league universities, so maybe some schools that actual people could get into and also that are good for lesbians and bisexuals and other queerios would be nice. But also we discovered that college costs a billion dollars for everybody, apparently, espesh the queer-friendly schools. It’s hard/expensive to be gay.

So children, share your objections, additions and assertions about your own eductional experiences in the comments!

So here’s some of ours with some of theirs — when applicable, the Newsweek ranking is included in parentheses. (For more resources check out Campus Pride.)

1. American University – Washington DC (#6)

Will You Get In? 50-50 chance.
Can You Afford It? Don’t count on it.

Pros: Autostraddle’s Interniccaine Katrina matriculated at American University and learned enough there to tell you how to pick up chicks, conduct a dialogue on queer polyamory for lesbians and define lesbian hipsters. Furthermore Katrina never has pants on. Judging by the riotous clan of homos she brought to every Autostraddle gathering we think it is safe to say that American is homo-central.
“Cons”: Washington DC is where all the Republicans live and it rains a lot there.

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2. University of Oregon – Eugene

Will You Get In? It is decidedly so.
Can You Afford It? Most likely.

Pros: Bargain-basement prices especially for in-staters, Oregon is pretty because of the mountains, Autostraddle Intern Vashanti got a girlfriend there, and as far as we know they are still together. Health insurance covers gender transitions and the place is chock full of neat things like LGBT support services, Lavendar Graduations, biGala, and a Queer studies minor via the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Also, 80% acceptance rate.

Cons: How much weed can you smoke and still be a positive contributor to society? This is a good place to find out. Also 80% acceptance rate.

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3. University of California – Berkeley (#2)

Will You Get In? Cannot predict now.
Can You Afford It? Signs point to yes.

Pros: Drugs! Hippies! Temperate climate! Fun proximity to 2011 Autostraddle HQ! Only a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from Alcatraz! Berkeley is the first school to offer a Queer Studies Program and hey who doesn’t wanna kick back and “relax” at the Gender Equity Resource Center, you know what I mean?
Cons: Like most large state schools you may ask yourself “how did I get here?” when participating in a gigantic lecture session or subsequent “discussion” with variantly qualified graduate student instructors. It’s so big, too. IT’S SO BIG.

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4. Smith College – Northampton, MA

eta: this photo is actually of Mount Holyoke, not Smith, damn you google image search. Also obvi Holyoke and Bryn Mawr are also gay havens.

Will You Get In? Hard to say.
Can You Afford It? Maybe not – but that’s why 60% qualify for financial aid.

Pros: DYKE DYKE DYKEVILLE! RACHEL FUCKING MADDOW! Also remember that show Transgeneration? There was someone on it from Smith. Idk, it just seems like the most lesbian school ever, even though it was likely named after a straight white guy. ETA: IT WAS NAMED AFTER A LADY NM.
Cons: With a campus that small and girls that gay, there’s bound to be some serious drama. And perhaps you may begin to miss the sound of a tender male voice expressing his opinions on the Crimean War, I know I would.

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5. Hampshire College – Amherst, MA

Will You Get In? Quite possibly!
Can You Afford It? Nope.

Pros: WELCOME TO HIPPIELAND YOU SEXY FEMINIST QUEER POLITICAL ECOLOGICALLY AWARE BEAUTYBAR! “Everyone makes out with everyone” and has evolved ideas about sexuality. At Hampshire you pave your own educational journey, enjoy narrative evaluations instead of grades, knock back peyote cocktails at the Queer Sexuality and Gender Conference and enjoy the lovely town of Amherst, the country’s very best college town and bike-trail paradise!
Cons: “Everyone is a little pretentious and in love with themselves and activists,” might feel like a joke if you’re not into it and might feel like a stretch if you don’t want to engage int he ganja.

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6. Sarah Lawrence – Bronxville, NY

Will You Get In? You’ve got a 58% chance and that ain’t bad.
Can You Afford It? Just get that 45K you’ve been stashing under your bed and pony up!

Pros: Heaps of lesbians, small classes with lots of personal attention, proximity to New York City, healthy vegan food at the caf, alums include J.J. Abrams, Meredith Monk and Alice Walker.

Cons: Sometimes the tiny inclusive suffocating campus chock-full of yoga-lovin’ gym-skippin’ stoned intellectual elitists who didn’t get into Brown can be TOTALLY MADDENING unless you are into that kind of thing, which chances are you probably are. The tiny group of male students is equally divided between Enlightened Perfectboys and douchebags who came specifically to take advantage of the 75-25 ratio.

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7. Brown University – Providence, Rhode Island (#14)

Will You Get In? Absolutely fucking not there is not a chance, but Emma Watson did
Can You Afford It? $40,820

Pros: If you get in you will be successful and happy for life and probably find a cute upwardly-mobile girlfriend there who went to Andover and reads a lot. Her parents may or may not like you.

Cons: Dude seriously you’re not gonna get in to Brown but if you do HOLLER.

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8. The New School/Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts – New York, NY

Will You Get In? 64% do.
Can You Afford It? Well, you’re living in Manhattan’s Gay Greenwich Village. So.

Pros: ANI DIFRANCO is an ALUM and you know what that means… or do you? If you want a good weirdo liberal education in New York City but can’t afford or get into NYU or Columbia, The New School is for you! Emily Gould takes a writing workshop there and a cute lesbian punches her arm playfully in her book And the Heart Says Whatever.
Cons: As described by Gawker in its ranking of the most annoying liberal arts colleges: “Let’s take a distinguished and progressive graduate faculty for continentally-influenced social research, and then haplessly attach a poorly run airy-fairy liberal arts college where the undergrad cool-hair kids can major in hipster fuckery and get a head-start on their farther flung liberal arts pals in New England and the Midwest by already living in Williamsburg!!!”

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9. Wellesley College – Wellesley, MA

Who Will Get In? 35%.
Can You Afford It? It’s nearly 40K but 60% of y’all will get a “need-based grant” which means you have to prove that you really need to get cozy with all those ladies which should not be hard.

Pros: All-girls! Rated by Grace Chu’s readers as the best lesbian school of all time, given subsequent blurb: “We tried to give other schools a shot, but the following comment cemented the top prize for Wellesley. A Columbia grad admitted to taking a bus all the way from NYC to the Wellesley Dyke Ball. New York City is arguably the most dyke-friendly city on the east coast, so if there exists a reason to pull a lesbian away from the Five Boroughs, it must be epic. Color us impressed.”
Cons: It’s really hard. Like, really, really, really, really, really really hard. You are going to work so hard that your head will explode. But when it re-creates, you will probs look like the girls from Mona Lisa Smile.

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10. University of Southern California – Los Angeles (#23)

Will You Get In? Don’t Count on it.
Can You Afford It? Unlikely.

Pros: JACK HALBERSTAM teaches there you guys, big Gender Studies department, big deal and also you know like, Lavendar Graduation, International Gay and Lesbian Archives, ONE Institute of Homophile Studies, Program for the Study of Sexual Orientation Issues in the News, and pretty much a club for every affiliation under the sun. Also proximity to Shane.
Cons: Los Angeles might eat your soul while the school itself devours your pocketbook. But who can put a price on Jack Halberstam, not me.

Bonus Round!

Did we just list four schools in Massachusetts? Is there a New England/East Coast bias here? Let’s try to fix that real quick….

MidwestOberlin College (Oberlin, OH) & University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) & Grinnell College (Grinnel, IA).

South Emory University (Atlanta, GA) & Agnes Scott (Decatur, GA) & Hollins University (Roanoke, VA).

WestUniversity of Washington – Seattle (Seattle, WA) &  Mills College (Oakland, CA)

SouthwestUniversity of Texas – Austin (Austin, TX) & Rice University (Houston, TX)

Good DealsSan Diego State University (San Diego, CA) – (it’s got the country’s first Women’s Studies Department!), University of Maryland – College Park (College Park, MD)

Community College – Glendale Community College (Glendale, AZ)

Super Special School for Total WeirdosWarren Wilson (Asheville, North Carolina)

CANADIAN PICK – Concordia University, Montreal, CA

Will You Get In? We have no idea but it seems quite likely.
Can You Afford It? Canadians can, and International Students have a pretty reasonable price tag to look at.

Pros: Simone de Beauvoir Institute! Breeding ground for future Autostraddle interns and  commenters! They just added a new minor in sexuality studies.
Cons: We could use a Canadian con or something. I mean are there cons to Canada. What are the cons to Canada. We don’t know of any.

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1113 articles for us.

206 Comments

  1. I can now totally validate the list of extremely expensive colleges that I’m applying to (4 of these 10) by saying to my mother that if she’ll just pay up for one of these schools, I’m not likely to get harrassed into killing myself, so really, it’s a win win for everyone.

    • Well, I’m Australian and am doing a distance education Bachelor degree at an Australian university. No offense to you yankees but you seem have it pretty tough when it comes to tuition fees and financial aid even at state universities. When I get my not-elitist like-Sydney-Uni-but-not-lame-like-University-of-Canberra, Griffith University Bachelor of Arts degree, I’ll be AUS$16,000 in debt. And the great thing about the Australian system is that we have a program called HECS (for Australian citizens/residents) where the government pays your whole tuition if you want (not just part of it) and then when you start earning upwards of $44,000 a year, only then do you have to start paying it back. From what I’ve seen, the return of investment for many American universities really lacks :/

      • Australia’s actually not that far behind in average tuition costs, though… and my student loan debt from the States was about the same as yours (although I went to an in-state public college, so).

        • One of the nice things about the Australian system, though, is that tuition is pretty much uniform across the board. Obvs our top universities aren’t comparable to the Harvards and Yales of the world, but it’s nice to know tuition isn’t a barrier to attending the best universities.

    • yeah, it feels like it was a bit of a sham. i could have had the same job i’ve got right now and NOT been 30 grand in debt. and i didn’t come out till the very end so there were no super homogay shenanigans for me :(

    • It was worth it for me, but my partner would have been just as well off professionally with her associates… her parents were just insistent that she get her bachelor’s, so. It really depends on what you want to do.

  2. Um….everyone. UC Santa Cruz. UC Berkeley for the less freakishly competitive 4.5 types. Way more chill (I have heard many scary things about berkeley…so many classes graded on a curve, people not helping each other because only 13 As are handed out in each class, yadda yadda.)

    Anyway. UC SANTA CRUZ EVERYONE. Not as competitive, you are quite likely to get in, and you’re next to freaking Santa Cruz and right in the goodness that is Norcal! If you have a burning need to get yourself to San Francisco, I’m 98% positive you can hook yourself up via public transportation.

    I have been on their campus on several occasions and there are gaytastic posters/club/event adverts everywhere. Also very feminist-positive too.

    • Santa Cruz is basically the most fun you will ever ever have. There’s a reason its nickname is “Uncle Charlie’s Summer Camp.” If spending four years building tree houses and running around naked in the woods sounds fun, go to UCSC.

      Percentage wise, it’s not exactly knee deep in gays. But it’s hands down the most queer friendly, LGBT positive environment I’ve ever been in. The queer resource center rules, the pride festival kicks ass, and the Feminism Department is amazing(seriously, Angela fucking Davis was ours until she retired recently). Fox News called Santa Cruz the ‘most radical and threatening university’ in the country which is the best endorsement I’ve ever heard.

  3. Okay, I just have to say:

    YAY SMITH!!!

    I went there. And it completely changed my life. Seriously, I compare my feelings about Smith to how Harry Potter feels about Hogwarts- more home than anywhere else.

    Also, it’s only a 20 minute bus ride from Hampshire.

    AND, it was in fact NOT named after a white dude, but a woman named Sophia Smith who gave her rather sizeable personal fortune to start a college for women in the 1870’s. Take that old boys club!

  4. Fuck yeah Smith! Actually, we weren’t named after a dead white dude but after our founder, Sophia Smith, who decided to start her own ladies’ college instead of giving her money to Amherst. I turned down Brown to go there, which should give you some sense of how much I love the place!

  5. Bryn Mawr!
    It’s been a while since I graduated, so it may take a moment for me to mount an argument w/ current data, but please don’t ignore my homolicious alma mater.
    The mascot is an owl. This prompted one of my HS friends (a twink) to ask, “So, are you the Bryn Mawr Hooters?”
    On a good day, yes. A fair amount of naked social events.

  6. you can get into brown if you play volleyball.

    temple university [my school] is supergay. it’s giant so i can go whole days without seeing one of my friends but i have never gone a whole day without seeing a gay. note: this doesn’t mean i don’t have friends, this means that there are a lot of homos. kaitlyn will back me up on this.

    i don’t think anyone at universitat pompeu fabra [my school this semester] is gay. today at school i saw a girl with a shaved head and a leather cuff but then she started making out with a boy.

  7. lol i was expecting this list to be smith x10.

    but hey hampshire! and i say this as a not very activist, not very pretentious, non-smoker. have to say that amherst is not the best college town in the country… everyone goes to noho to mingle with the smithies.

  8. Syracuse University

    lgbt.syr.edu

    Will you get in: Its a 40% chance.
    Can You afford it:
    Realistically about $50,000 per semester
    Grants and scholarships and hard work will get you to where you need to go, but it’s TOUGH.

    Pros:
    + Five Star rating on Campus Pride

    + We have a Queer Studies program (which has an LGBT minor), with some kick-ass professors like Margaret Himley.
    -speaking of which, we just hosted an international conference about transnationalizing queer studies.

    + We have an LGBT Resource center. It’s a house, mind you. We took over an ‘effing house.

    + We have the best drag kings, and an annual drag show that even the sororities and fraternities attend. Did I say we have a Gay fraternity? Yeah, we have that too.

    + We have a Gay Learning Community. It’s pretty sweet when your walk of shame can only be two doors away.

    +Queer Professors and Professors with any kind of life-partner can get benefits.

    + You can’t walk anywhere or be in any major without seeing someone of the queer variant.

    + From personal experience, it’s fucking awesome.

    Cons:
    +Snow. Snow. Snow.

    +If it’s not snow, then it’s rain.

    If you like nature, try our lovely neighbor – SUNY ESF (State University of New York – Environmental Science and Forestry).

    • Are you talking about grad or undergrad SU? Maybe it’s ’cause I did undergrad at Smith, but I found my grad program at SU (which I entered this semester) to be a BIG culture shock.

      • Undergrad.

        Syracuse DOES have a Grad group for LGBT Students (Open doors), but it’s much more low-key and down-played then the undergrad program.

        Also, not gonna lie, Syracuse outside of the university is a ghost town.

        You’ve Got TREXX on thursdays and RAINN on the weekends if you’re over 21.

        But other than that, the community doesn’t have much to offer for fun. But, you’ve got a lot of resources for support.

    • Re: moneytalk I’d like to add that Syracuse offered me a merit-based $20,000 scholarship to transfer there surprisingly even though I hadn’t applied for financial aid. (Michigan in-state tuition was still cheaper though)

  9. Grinell is the shit. It’s sexy nerd paradise. It’s only an hour from where I live, and I went to a lot of fencing tournaments there in high school (yeah, fencing. cause it’s a cool school).

    • hey whoah I’ve actually been considering grinell but’ve been intimidated by the “tiny town in the middle of nowhere” thing…how’s the gayness go over there?

      telll me morrreeeeeeeeee

  10. OMG lawl i read this thinking about my university, Concordia, being super gay but its always american schools being ranked, and then i scroll down and its on THE FUCKING LIST.
    anyways, i love concordia dearly, the educations great, everyone is hot, and there are SOOOOOOOOOOOO MANNYYYYYY GAYYYSSSSSSS i need to shut my gaydar off because my head will explode.

    concordia represent!

    • Met some lovely dykes at Monash, then they skipped out on the bar tab, so avoid those bitches.

      Queerspace at Sydney Uni is a great place to meet people, but becomes a cesspool of exes and drama, so try not to get drawn into that. But the gayness of the uni is delightful and hugsworthy.

      Curtin in Perth is quite good gay-wise,I never joined their gay-club but it does exist. Edith Cowan has the Academy of Performing Arts (male ballet dancers in sweater vests anyone?)

      I’ll assume you’re not considering Darwin, why would you? (I loved it there fyi).

      Ummm thats all I’ve got.

      • Haha cool, I’m actually at ANU in Canberra atm and only just out, so I haven’t met many GLBT kids..
        I was more trying to get the ‘vibe’ of which unis here are rad for gays so thanks hahah

        • Monash seems pretty good for queers, as do Sydney and Melbourne.

          I spent a while at ANU – if you are in need of queer connections, a) join the Queer Collective, b) hangout in the Rainbow Room and c) walk into Civic and hang at the Red Herring or join their queer book club. You will make friends / pick up in no time, although they will probably all be law school types.

  11. University of New Hampshire, Durham NH

    The amount of lesbians is ridiculous, we are slowly taking over, one dorm at a time, one plaid shirt at a time. It has a fantastic Women’s Studies and Queer studies department, and if you are looking for the resources you need to make it through college as a lesbian, UNH is the place for you. You can find a safe haven for yourself somewhere. And hey! There is a gay club only 45mins away from the campus!

  12. Can’t believe Hampshire, Smith, and Wellesley are on here and Mount Holyoke isn’t. Beautiful campus, huge lesbian population. A little isolated, but the community is lovely.

  13. FUNNY STORY, I was all sad that Mount Holyoke wasn’t listed and that Smith, Hampshire, and Wellesley all are, BUT I know the women in the Smith photo and they’re actually Mount Holyoke alums!

    p.s. hi smithies!

  14. I went to Brown and had a raucous homo-gay-a-go-go time. The naked parties and lesbian sex parties were pretty awesome. (Not kidding. Not even a little bit.) Unfortunately, all the gay deans were leaving for some unknown reason.

    It’s true. Getting in is a royal bitch. I doubt I would these days. If you are sporty, they definitely recruit!

    Good luck, little queers!!

  15. University of Minnesota Twin-Cities.

    Our safe space on campus is the Queer Student Cultural Center, it predates Stonewall baby! Also Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area has a great rate of gays per capita. Especially if you like dyke-y girls on bikes with tattoos that are into feminism. Just sayin’.

  16. I go to a state school. It’s super cheap (as far as colleges go) and super lez-friendly! Tons of Sapphically-inclined ladies here, and not just the barsexual type. Seriously tons of ‘mos and SUNY Geneseo! I love it!

  17. I didn’t get into Brown, but one of my best friends from high school did. His girlfriend watches television with Emma Watson. Hell yeah.

    But anyway I got into a fucking awesome school, so Brown can suck it.

    Then I had to leave because I couldn’t afford it, and now I go to a state school.

    But my school’s LGBT club is called the RAINBOW ALLIANCE. And that’s just fucking sweet.

  18. le sigh. I go to the least lesbian friendly school in the country. but I go for almost free (in state + scholarship). And the closer I get to graduating the happier I am that I minimized my student loan debt.

    So I will have two degrees and not negative$$, but minimal experience at being a lesbian.

    I guess you can’t have it all. unless you have a trust fund and/or an IQ of 190.

  19. I go to Knox College in Galesburg Illinois, and it is very very gay friendly. For one, the campus seems to be full of them, including my self. The professors and the faculty them selves are also very gay friendly. The campus its self promotes gay rights. The only draw back is that the town of galesburg is very conservative. Holding your girlfriends on campus, fine. Most people will think you are adorable. Holding your girlfriends hand in town, not really something you would want to try. You wouldn’t get beat up or bullied, but you might get called names, glared at, and ignored when trying to get some ones attention.

    over all, a great school.

  20. BRYN MAWR
    BRYN MAWR
    BRYN MAWR
    Literally the gayest campus after Smith. SO FUCKING GAY.
    WE ARE AWESOME AND ARE SAD WE ARE NOT ON THIS LIST
    IT’S HARD TO SAY EXACTLY HOW GAY WE ARE
    BUT I’D SAY IT’S 80%
    MAYBE 85%
    90% DURING TRADITIONS/PARTIES
    95% WITH ALCOHOL
    BUT LET’S JUST SAY THAT EVERY SINGLE LADY TRIES IT AT LEAST ONCE
    BRYN MAWR
    BRYN MAWR
    BRYN MAWR

    • To the Smithies and the Mohos and the Bryn Mawries:

      OHMYGOD, REALLY? Your school is full of queers in the liberal homogay loving accepting EAST COAST? THAT’S SOOO REVOLUTIONARILY UNBELIEVABLE!

      Oberlin, however, has the chutzpah to be a hotbed of homoliciousness in the middle of a cornfield. Not to mention it was gay back when it was, like, sooo gay to be gay. See http://www.oberlinlgbt.org/content/

    • I remember watching a TV cooking show back in the late 1990s featuring a lesbian couple cooking brunch for American friends while studying in England.

      They now both work at Bryn Mawr’s English dept.

  21. My university is pretty gay friendly. Our sga president is gay. And most of us are convinced the university president is…we just haven’t been able to confirm. I think it helps that we don’t have a football team. Never had a hate crime and our gsa is active. University of West Florida is gay friendly. Yay! :)

  22. Hampshire! There are an amazing amount of female bodied queers! Also, it’s a GREAT school for genderqueers of all stripes. Every name circle in orientation included pronouns. I’m currently living on Queer Hall for first years, we also have 3 queer upper classfolx apartments (mods), including a Queer Gamer mod.

    Activism and pretentiousness? Well, yes but also people are pretty self conscious about how over the top it is sometimes. We’re also right by Smith and Holyoke if you need to escape the bubble/take every single queer studies class offered in the five college consortium. Yes, it’s expensive but the aid is almost always quite nice, for most it ends up being about 20-30,000 a year.

    COME HERE WE LOVE QUEERS (Also we have a burlesque troupe)

  23. SUNY Albany, where I go, is super gay-friendly. I was so surprised, the city in general is. When I looked at schools, my in the closet self (but not as of Sunday, holla!) was not asking questions about LGBT life, but the administration and students are pretty supportive and there are a lot of resources.

  24. Add UCLA you guys! It has an LGBTQ Magazine called OUTWrite, and among the amazing course offerings, every winter: The Psychology of Lesbians and the Lesbian Experience. Ahhhh-mazing. And this year will be the 21st year the class has been taught! Plus it is LA, a public school, and was just ranked #11 in the entire WORLD. You are on West Hollywood’s doorstep for the social scene as well, besides the campus itself being a bevy of hotties. There are a million organizations and resources for queer students. There’s even a lesbian sorority. Dead serious.

  25. Smith is literally the gayest place I’ve ever been. I couldn’t walk outside without seeing a gay. Or go to class. Or eat a meal. I’d be surprised if we were less than 50%-50% queer. Props to Hampshire and Moho both! Though Smith is definitely more queer than Mount Holyoke. I have an ex from Mount Holyoke who definitely agrees. Anyway, Smith and Northampton are lesboville and it’s fantastic.

    • I don’t think you can really say which is “more queer” from two opinions. However, I will agree that Smith is more VISIBLY queer, but you can’t assume from that that MHC is less queer/queer friendly. However, it could be true that Smith is more queer- again, I’m just one opinion. :)

  26. Lewis & Clark College! (Portland, OR)

    The undergrad campus in spring is essentially ALL lesbians (or variant girl-on-girl couples) everywhere, ALL the time.

    Plus, the law school has a queer group named OutLaw. Do I really need to say more?

    Acceptance rate undergrad: 65%
    Pricing: 48k, but with plenty of financial aid and scholarships to go around.

  27. Woo – U dub! I am glad to see that U of Washington here in Seattle made your bonus round list of schools. I have to say that coming from Canada (I lived in Vancouver before relocating to Seattle 5 yrs ago) that we are not so used to giant universities like UW. But, after working here for 5 yrs, I can say that Seattle is a very laid back, gay inclusive city. Also, if you have any interest in neuroscience (my particular background), the faculty at UW is exceptional and their undergrad and grad programs are great

    • I started classes at UW last week and I’m having a gay ol’ time! (pun so very much intended) Seriously though, they queer population here is big and open and active. Plus everyone is serious about their coffee/composting/bicycles/everything that I like. I’m never coming home.

  28. The list reminds me of my old days of visiting the colleges in US. Though a Canadian, my parents and I thought it’s best to take a look at US colleges. Mount Holyoke, Smith College and Wellesley were on the list. I ended up going to York Univeristy in Toronto, Canada. It’s partly because the expenses’re costly and I didn’t want my parents to lose money over their daughter who did poorly academically. However, York University is a friendly place for LGBT and we did have several clubs. Though I do wonder there would be another life if I enter one of these American colleges.

    • Honestly, I think that the choices available in terms of going to school in Canada are maybe a bit more limited (such as the lack of liberal arts based colleges). But, the cost of education makes up for the lack of diversity in programs. Before I moved to the states, I used to bitch and wine about what I paid to go to undergrad and grad school in Canada. But, after meeting people here, I have to say that we have an easy road in Canada. The cost is so much less, the experience is comparable, and, in my experience, most of the major universities are located in places that are gay tolerant, if not gay friendly.

      • It seems that you have had quite a experience in US. Which school did you go to? I do agree that most of cities in Canada are gay tolerant. One American girl I know even moved to Toronto from San Francisco, complaining about the costs of living in the gay mecca!

        • I didn’t go to school here in the US. Just moved for work. But, I’ve had a bunch of students that have come from liberal arts colleges here and were paying upwards of $45,000 per year, and I have no idea how they managed to get through 4 years of that. I am glad to have the opportunity to go to school and only pay maybe a tenth of that cost. Living here has really made me appreciative of the opportunities that I had to get a cheap, but still good education.

          • My guess would be loans and grants. That or rich parents. No way I or anyone I know could have paid that out of pocket.

      • Yeah, looking at what people are paying down states-side is ridiculous. 30-40K a year? I’m going to a fairly prestigious university in Vancouver, and I’ll probably pay half/two-thirds that by the time I graduate.

  29. Yeah, it’s a relatively small regional school, but I’ve gotta put a plug in for Western Washington University… when I was going there, the gay community was super active and awesome. There’s a LGBT Studies minor. And also pot, which I guess is a requirement. The real subversive hardcores can even go the Fairhaven route and have the super hippie experience!

    • I GO THERE NOW!

      It’s still amazing. The LGBT feels a little incestuous after a while, because you start to date people who dated your ex and it starts to get messy.

      I work in the res halls, and they do safe space training for all the RAs and its about 90% that next year we’ll have gender-inclusive housing.

      And Fairhaven is definitely for people that don’t feel like a traditional college education is for them.

      Will you get in? Probably. Provided you paid attention in high school.

      Can you afford it? 40k for a year out of state but in state it’s not too bad.

      I like it because it’s big enough to not be bored but small enough that my lack of a sense of direction starts to be an issue.

  30. Haha

    I went from the number 2 school on the list to the number 1 … And was pretty active. My partner woke me up with this laughing that I deserve somesort of gay award.

    Eugene is beautiful, has nap lounge, good admin and classes, and very very open (topless ladies in the street open) but has like one cool bar and is in the middle of nowhere (springfield is really kinda red state) with no really good internships nearby. Go Ducks!

    American is kinda douchey, full of awesome gays and obnoxious student republicans, the administration is horrid (only 3 absences per class!), but is really politically active. All of this makes it so much better than the other DC schools activismwise which is why I picked it over the others. (also all the republicans either live behind American to the right or in virgina/md so don’t let it put you off DC).

  31. Wasn’t there actually a rumor about Ellen Page attending University of Oregon? Incentives, guys! Incentives. Also, PDX is like the Mecca of the ~real~ dykecicles on bicycles.

    I was actually accepted early-admish into USC but couldn’t afford the plane ticket out, let alone the price of tuition even with financial aid. So…state school it was! Woo.

    Berry College is another queer-friendly private university in GA, BTW.

    Publicwise, UGA, while having the distinction of being a party school, is as strong in fine arts and culture as it is in kegstand competitions. Those two things automatically equal GAY in the South for some reason.

    I attend Georgia Southern University. Let’s just say that yesterday marked the first day I ever saw two women holding hands on campus. Whenever I hate it here, I remind myself that it at least it isn’t Augusta State. I am miles away from Jennifer-fucking-Keeton.

  32. American isn’t the world, go to school abroad guys!!!!
    I am at the University of Edinburgh’s law school. Also known as the queeriest place in Scotland/planet earth. Seriously. The city is abound with asymmetrical haircuts, gay clubs galore (and drinking age is 18 so all you baby-dykes can come to!), the campus gay club has been voted best society on campus numerous times, etc.

    Plus everyone here is just really hot. And accented… But seriously- so hot.

    • actually tbh i didn’t find it to be that gay-friendly… i identified as bi but every time it came up the conversation never went very well so I mostly just tried to blend in and more or less felt straight back then. but i blamed myself for that, for hanging out with a sort of sorority/frat crowd, like the rich ppl from nj/ny/suburban chicago/detroit, which is why i had to work off campus with normal people who went to eastern in order to keep my sanity.

      but apparently according to like 5,000 websites, U-Mich is SUPER gay-friendly. I do know from growing up in a2 that the town itself is gay friendly.

      i lived with some friends from middle school my junior year who were mostly lesbians, they all played rugby or did fencing. the residential college and theater department obvs is quite gay-friendly and within the writing subconcentration i had some crushes. they have a great women’s studies program.

      also our managing editor sarah just started law school there!

  33. Goodness me, why must you pay so much for college, 40K?! That’s madness! I must only pay 1,000 a year which is fine, but the American students who do my course must pay 49,000 Euro, apparently you guys can never win, which is very unfair.

    • As I’ve mentioned before, it is very possible to go to college on the cheap in the US. (Well, the relatively cheap.) If you’re willing to stay in state and go to a public university, you could be like me and only have $15k total in student loan debt. (I only got loans to pay tuition, though. My living costs came out of my pocket.)

    • I went to the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor for about $8,000 a year in-state. It looks like tuition has gone up since then, but not by much. Honestly except for this one pair of jeans I got in SF I think it’s the best deal I’ve ever found in my life.

  34. Are other schools in san francisco–like USF and SFSU–not loaded with lesbians?

    I wish this article had been written 3 years ago… definitely would’ve applied to a few of the listed schools. Time machine, anyone?!

  35. Just FYI, the picture you’re using to illustrate Smith College is actually from one of the other Seven Sisters, the equally lez-friendly Mount Holyoke College (coincidentally, just down the street from Smith and also my alma mater.)

  36. Ah, I’m at Eugene Lang, The New School for Liberal Arts at this moment in time.

    Hmm… I guess you could say that it’s very gay-friendly; however, there actually isn’t a LBGT- (QIA?) club here. Which is so weird, because there is such a huggge *population*. A while back they had something called OPEN (Out & Proud Environment @ the New School) but that sorta died… *sigh* Nevertheless, it’s a pretty decent school and there are a lot of cute people here. :P

  37. I think my favorite part about the post on Smith is that the photo used is of Mount Holyoke students and is taken in the Mount Holyoke library (Stimson room, for all the MoHos out there)

    No big.

    Katie, MHC class of ’08

  38. Yes, I in fact, attended 2 of these schools, Smith and USC. But I never expected to see SC on a list like this. Really? I guess those were pre-Judith/Jack days…

  39. umm, uhh, i’d just like to say that Stanford has possibly the most diverse and awesome community of queer women (and men!) anywhere. and it’s a fucking summer camp. a fucking lesbian, gaymo summer camp. automatic win.

    • No seriously – Stanford queer scene is where it’s at!!!!! SO many queer ladies, SO much diversity, SO much love. Not to mention we have an unbelievable amount of resources/institutional support for queer students – we’ve got a kickass, well-funded LGBT Community Resources Center, myriad queer student orgs, all sorts of queer parties, an unofficial queer house with 40+ residents, LOTS of queer studies courses, and just so much awesome queerness it’s hard to contain in this post.

      Autostraddle, get your shit together and put us on this list!!

      • I totes agree with southpaw and Shaqueera! Stanford is such a great place for queers! I’ve been out as a big homogay since I have stepped on campus and have never looked back. Such a wonderful place to be out!

        As Shaqueera mentioned, we have TONS of resources for queer people and their allies. It is also a very safe place for people to be out, even if they cannot be out while at home. I love this school!

        *Ahem* Can I also say that we have gender neutral housing and bathrooms sprinkled all over the campus? I don’t know about you, but I love gender neutral bathrooms.

        • 1. EIGHT PERCENT YOU BABY GENIUS MOTHERF*CKERS. EIGHT PERCENT acceptance rate! We wanted to make an antidote to the Newsweek list and figured including Brown maxed us out on the expensive/selective factor.

          2. You got a 1600 on the SATs so surely you’re aware that a list of ten things can only include ten things… that was in the math part I think? I only got a 1370 so I could be wrong. Then we threw in few more just to have some more variety (rather than additional expensive competitive schools).

          3. Making this 10-college long list took ~7 hours and so doing all the colleges would take 490 hours. We definitely would like to make a new list at this point but don’t know where to begin. We only wrote about the ones that we like knew something about first-hand that we saw on like 500 lists and that seemed to have good queer studies programs. My Stanford experiences are an intern who literally did not do one single thing besides respond to a roundtable once and a Republican roommate i had in nyc who thought everything had aids and said she wouldn’t make out with anyone who hadn’t gone to an Ivy League school. Clearly that wasn’t a good sample, but by hour 6 I was like eh.

          4. You are all invited to use your Stanford educations to write up 1-3 paragraphs about why stanford is the bestest and email it to laneia at autostraddle dot com! Actually this could be a legit good idea — we will do a COLLEGE SPOTLIGHT series where y’all can tell us why your school is the best to ensure fresh crops of new young dykes arriving on your doorsteps, espesh as honestly much of this list was composed by personal anecdotes and several of these here endorsements come from our own personal experiences (rachel almost went to hampshire, i briefly went to SLC, i have friends at brown, i don’t think people realize the new school is a good alternative if you don’t get into NYU, katrina went to american, vashti goes to oregon). Please include pictures of people being gay and make sure they aren’t of Mount Holyoke students unless you are writing about Mount Holyoke.

          5. Please excuse the seemingly aggressive attitude of this comment, I assure you it is in jest and intended to inspire generosity and presented with the jovial spirit of a University of Michigan graduate who, as a child, painted her face yellow and blue for basketball games and still can barely spell her own name. After all, we did ask you to tell me about your schools. Idk i have short term memory loss from all the pot i smoked that one semester at sarah lawrence when I wasn’t lap-swimming and eating tiny sandwiches. ok it’s bedtime.

          • I totally will take you up on your offer :) Expect something written at the beginning of next week (out of town from tonight until Monday w/ no internet.)

            Also, sorry about that intern! That blows. And the roommate. Seriously, wtf? Clearly your old roommate never participated in Full Moon on the Quad…

            P.S. A Personal request: more butch dykes at Stanford, please? This would make me very happy!

          • 800 language 570 math? (Is it weird that I remember my exact SAT score, maybe, I just thought: what a funny coincidence if so.)

            Also: Warren Wilson! That was my backup school. Though it was really kind of ridiculous to even have a backup school since my college, St. John’s in Santa Fe, has like an 80% acceptance rate for those who can manage the 12-50-page set of application essays. I had a great time there, but it is super tiny — I never saw signs of anything but total acceptance of the gays on campus, but I also knew of exactly one lesbian student. Academically awesome, homosocially pathetic.

  40. Great list and additional comments! I went to Ithaca College which was teeming with lesbians! Loved it. (Unfortunately I didn’t start actually dating any of them until right after I had graduated… what a waste.) It is a great school for gay kids and open-minded straight folks. Its beautiful and you can really focus in on your area of study without having to do 2-3 years of required crap. For a hands on photo major, I loved it. The town of Ithaca is very liberal and Cornell is supposed to be relatively gay-friendly as well. I miss Ithaca.

  41. The whole way through this thread I’ve been trying to figure out who in what book/movie/tv show is “starting Mount Holyoke in the fall” and I’ve just realised it’s Baby from Dirty Dancing. Haha, oh dear. This is what my brain is full of; this is why I have no room for things.

  42. Okay, I have to put in a vote for my alma mater, Carleton College in MN. Super gay friendly, and just this past year the students there set a new world record for spooning, which is really like only one degree away from scissoring. Also it’s fairly close to Minneapolis, which is one of the gayer places on earth. Or this is just confirmation bias because all my friends are gay, who’s to know.

  43. SOOO pleased to see Concordia on the list. It’s affordable, easy enough to get into and has a ton of artsy-er degree options. Wish i had looked into Concordia, but I’m at McGill and lovin’ it. Its impossible to walk through campus here and not have your gaydar go off. Montreal is a cornucopia of lesbians.

    • yaaay McGill! I’m there too – though have terrible gaydar. sadface.
      It seems like an extremely gay-friendly place. I think we even have gender-neutral bathrooms and other ‘spaces’.

  44. I can’t add much, I went small religious university where being openly gay could get you kicked out (I was super closeted at that point and in complete denial). Though I was always disappointed I never found out who the rumored lesbian on the fourth floor of the dorm was.

  45. you guys we have to re-write every online guide to lez-friendly schools that exist, because there’s so many that came up over and over and over on the campus pride index and newsweek and us news & world report and our own personal memories as being lez-friendly that i don’t see anyone getting too excitant about.

    like maybe sarah lawrence and usc can be stricken from the list? thoughts? nobody here seemed to advocate for wellsely or berkeley and we’ve got some mixed reviews of american and the new school…

    and replaced with mount holyhellyouguysarepersistent? or um, bryn mawr, or stanford for all the genius kids, or whatnot. idk this is hard. one of you should re-write it for us, rachel and i haven’t been to college in a few months and six years, respectively.

    • NOOOOOOOOOO keep Wellesley on the list!
      We are so gay. Not so happy hippie gay, unfortunately, but still power suit/will-own-your-ass/CEO/perfectionist/Mona Lisa GAY.

      Dyke Ball. Big Dyke on Campus. The Wellesley chop. Naked Party. Shakespeare Society, El Table, the Hoop….. I swear on my Julia Stiles pearls it’s GAY.

  46. Can I make a motion to nominate McMaster University for Canada?
    Cuz it’s super friendly, if you know what I mean. (I can guarantee that–seein as how I’m the coordinator of our campus’ GLBTQ group.)

    We’re located within spitting distance of Toronto, in a city that, once upon a time, was the first place in Canada to recognize Domestic Partnerships. The city itself has a very vibrant, very indie queer community, even if it does tend more towards crunchy-granola. It’s still a lot of fun.
    The political dudes are all pretty chill with the gay, as are the police (the police came and helped train my volunteers about the GLBT task force, even!)

    The school itself is midsize, 27,000ish, and it’s a hotbed of awesome gays. There’s the Queer Students Community Centre–we have a large queer resource library, with everything from DVDs (‘Tipping the Velvet’, anyone?) to like, awesome books. We host pimpin events, and we’re a school service funded by the students union. The Students Union is like, hellagay/friendly, and the school administration is super chill and really friendly (there’s a President’s Advisory Committee I sit on, that helps advise the University President on ways to make the school more diverse and inclusive).

    We also do stuff in rez, and have a social space to chill, and there’s an alarmingly high number of Frosh Week reps who are representin something else, if yanno what I mean.
    And even if you’re not down for the clubs and stuff, its a super chill campus, and quite gay.

    =D
    Yay Mac!

    PS: Sure you can -meet- your girlfriend at those other universities…. but here in Canada, you can -marry- her upon graduation. XD

  47. I just started uni this week in the UK, and the girl living next door to me is a visiting student from American University (just a weird coincidence, I hadn’t heard of it until she told me!)
    I guess I’ll have to wait and see how gay-friendly Oxford will be… going to the first LGBT meet this weekend! :D

  48. Oh my god. Smith. Smith smith smith. It’s the only place I’ve been where I’ve heard people apologizing for assuming someone was straight. In terms of people who actually identify as gay, we have a decent number, but overall there’s just this queer aesthetic on campus that’s amazing. The dyke drama can get a little ridiculous, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  49. I think its totally cool that you combine how much it costs with likelyhood of admittence. that being said, I attend California State University Northridge ( the LA Metro Area) and we have a huge queer community. We have a Queer studies minor, A very active LGBT with a huge lesbian population and a sizable trans visability. And to add to all this awesomeness is a chapter of the nations only and first QUEER BASED ALL INCLUSIVE SOCIAL SORORITY. Theyre Gamma Rho Lambda and I am proud to say I am a founding sister of the sorority.

  50. I am shocked SHOCKED shocked Vassar’s not on here. (No I’m not, it’s a list of ten schools.) But no VC commentors? Really?

    The first question everyone asked me when I told them that’s where I was going was “Oh, are you a lesbian yet?” and then they proceeded to tell me about their gay sister/aunt/cousin/mom who had matriculated at VC.

    It’s an interesting “scene” in terms of sexuality. “Frequently” is the overarching sexual preference. I’ve had some late blooming friends say they had difficulty getting in with the cliquey gays (boohoo she wasn’t invited to the rugby team L Word parties) but I found it to be a warm, accepting environment- nothing shocked anyone, and as a former women’s school, sapphic inclinations were the least shocking of all- and the erotica magazine (FIRST IN THE COUNTRY) is about 90% female (cisgendered primarily but not without exception) so there’s yearly college sanctioned nudie eye candy.

    WHERE ARE YOU VASSAR READERS?

  51. You guys totally forgot New College of Florida.
    Okay, maybe you didn’t forget because no one knows about it but you SHOULD. It’s super LGBT-friendly. I walk around openly with my girlfriend every day, and we see numerous other gay and lesbian couples regularly. I’ve never heard of anyone being harassed. Also, you can get free dental dams from the health center.

  52. I would totally be going to Grinnell College if I could afford it. I grew up living very close to Grinnell, and I’m there a lot. They just got a new president who is gay and black. He and his partner (and child) are very well liked in the community and many are expecting a lot of great things to happed because of this guy! Very excited for the Grinnell Community!

  53. Ithaca College is a very lady-lovin-ladies friendly school. Our President is actually in the Ithaca College “It Gets Better Video” which you can you tube. We have gender studies classes and across the hill at Cornell they have a gender studies program that you are able to take classes at and have them transferred over at no extra cost. There are also quite a few student organizations that deal with Queer community issues. The school also has a center for the campus LGBTQ community with on-site counselors to aid in crisis situations. Also, most of our professors sport the “safe space” stickers on their office doors. Plus the city of Ithaca is SO QUEER! And BEAUTIFUL.

  54. Yes you would probably get into Concordia (even though international tuition is expensive). However, at first I thought there were A LOT A LOT A LOT of homos here, but everyone in Montreal is just such a hiptser. There are still a lot though.

    Also, Canada has no cons. It’s not even that cold right now.

  55. So happy to see Berkeley on this list — that’s where I’m going next fall.
    Also, holla at U of O in Eugene. My hometown. Quite possibly THE most lesbian city on the face of the earth. It’s ridiculous.

  56. Can anyone gimme some advice on the uni’s in california??
    I’m set on going there after watching the real l word haha

    Dunno which campus I’d go to though- mainly thinking about San Diego, but I guess if i didn’t make that, then Santa Cruz or LA wouldn’t be bad either?
    I’m planning to go on exchange from Australia so obviously dunno much what the areas in Cali are known for and whatnot.
    Would love to hear from some locals! :)

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