7 Brave Campuses for LGBT Students in the South
BY Campus Pride
September 02 2014 9:00 AM ET
University of Richmond — Richmond, Va.
While Virginia has not necessarily been the most LGBT-friendly place, this campus has been a “brave” beacon for LGBT advocacy in the state for decades. The University of Richmond's work to become an LGBTQ-inclusive campus began in the 1990s, when sexual orientation was added to its nondiscrimination policy and the school launched its Safe Zone initiative. Since then, the university has implemented same-sex domestic partner benefits for full-time faculty and staff members, added gender identity and expression to its nondiscrimination policy, received four stars on the Campus Pride Index, hired an associate director of LGBTQ life, and started hosting Lavender Graduations, among many other things. The University of Richmond is one of 29 Southern schools with a Campus Pride Index rating of four stars or higher.
In early February the university teamed up with Campus Pride to host the first-ever Campus Pride College Sports Summit. The summit was a two-day event that featured Sue Rankin, Kye Allums, Wade Davis, and even a world premiere screening of The Rugby Player. The event was focused on research findings from the Campus Pride report, LGBTQ student athlete experiences, training resources, and recommended best practices to prevent harassment in college sports. The event reached more than 100 coaches, staff, and student athletes.
In late March the University of Richmond hosted the Q-Summit: A Gathering of Queer Southern Youth. The event was a gathering of queer youth, ages 18-25, who are leaders within the South. The day was filled with movement-building, skill-sharing, and best-practices development that was led by people under the age of 25. The aim was to amplify the experiences of LGBTQ youth of color and trans* youth voices, while gathering to plan the future of their movement. The event welcomed over 130 queer youth activists and featured keynote speakers and presenters who were all 25 years old or younger.
In May the university was recognized by the Richmond Organization for Sexual Minority Youth with a 2014 Catalyst Award at the organization’s annual fundraiser. The Catalyst Award is given to institutions that work with LGBTQ youth and are champions for LGBTQ progress.