7 Brave Campuses for LGBT Students in the South
BY Campus Pride
September 02 2014 8:00 AM ET
University of Houston — Houston
A mark of a “brave space” is unyielding advocacy in the face of adversity. As a public research institution, the University of Houston is known for a history of grassroots LGBTQ student organizing and activism.
This past year the University of Houston student senate passed the Josephine Tittsworth Act. The student bill is an attempt to address the safety concerns of transgender people on campus. The bill allows transgender students to use their proper name, title, and gender when completing official university documents.
Today the university boasts a full-service LGBT Resource Center with a program director, student staff, a large selection of annual programming, and an LGBT studies program. As stated, the mission of the center is “to launch the next generation of healthy, proud, academically successful LGBTQ citizens, leaders and advocates.” Some of the center’s key programs include a Peer Mentoring Program to help assist newly LGBTQ-identifying students, a speakers bureau, and a brown bag social lunch to help foster relationships between students and faculty. Programs for faculty and staff include the Cougar Ally Training on LGBTQ issues as well as multiple Cougar Ally Lunch ‘N’ Learns, which provide discussions on select LGBTQ issues.
The University of Houston is one of the two highest-ranked Texas schools listed on the Campus Pride Index, ranked at 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. The campus also has made significant strides on transgender concerns, adding “gender identity/expression” to its nondiscrimination statement and having a gender-inclusive restroom policy that allows students and faculty to use the restroom of their choice. Beginning this fall, the campus has also added transgender-inclusive student health insurance for medical expenses related to hormones and surgery.