Best HBCUs for LGBTQ+ Students
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Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have always been viewed as providing a safe and affirming space for Black students. HBCUs instill cultural pride. They also shield students from the harsh realities of navigating racism that can be found at predominantly white colleges.
At HBCUs, students aspire to be themselves and join a culture that is inclusive and welcoming.
LGBTQ+ students at HBCUs need a supportive environment as they navigate multiple forms of discrimination — racism, homophobia, and transphobia.
While LGBTQ+ inclusion at HBCUs has a long way to go, many of these institutions are committed to expanding services and support for LGBTQ+ students.
What Makes an HBCU LGBTQ+-Inclusive?
Regardless of the institution you choose, there are key factors that indicate whether a college is inclusive of LGBTQ+ students.
For LGBTQ+ HBCU students, many of the issues generally faced in the queer community can be amplified. These include a lack of faculty and professionals who advocate for LGBTQ+ support on campus, college and housing affordability, and mental healthcare resources.
In partnership with Campus Pride, we have assessed HBCUs in the United States based on variables listed by the Campus Pride HBCU Clearinghouse, some of which include:
- Nondiscrimination statement inclusive of sexual orientation
- LGBTQ+ studies programs and course offerings
- Ally program and/or SafeZone trainings
- Resource center/office responsible for LGBTQ+ student support services
Additionally, we incorporated our own rankings methodology, which evaluates schools based on academic outcomes (graduation rate, retention rate) and college affordability.
Meet Campus Pride
Campus Pride is the premier national organization for college students seeking support and resources for LGBTQ+ issues on campus. Campus Pride offers a variety of resources for students to explore and understand their LGBTQ+ identity as well as for allies and parents and family who seek to better support LGBTQ+ students in their lives.
Together with Campus Pride, we have curated the following list of HBCUs across the United States that are making significant strides in their support for LGBTQ+ students.
Top LGBTQ+-Inclusive HBCUs
Howard University is a private, four-year institution in Washington, D.C. Around 11,000 students take part in over 120 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Howard University has LGBTQ+ organizations for students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and law programs. The school also has an official organization for undergraduate students — the Coalition of Activist Students Celebrating the Acceptance of Diversity and Equality (CASCADE).
These organizations provide a safe space and advocacy for LGBTQ+ students. Howard offers Safe Zone training for staff and faculty and gender-inclusive housing for students.
North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University offers flagship programs in the sciences, education, law, business, nursing, and the arts. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally (LGBTA) Resource Center gives students a place where they can learn about LGBTQ+ identities and culture. The center also provides professional development and leadership training for students who want to increase their knowledge and outreach about issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community.
The campus also hosts signature programming — Homecoming Drag Show, LGBTQ+ Prom, Lavender Graduation, and Transgender Awareness Event.
Delaware State University
Delaware State University is a public, four-year school in Dover, Delaware. Current enrollment is around 5,700 students. The school has about 40 undergraduate degree options, 20 master's degree programs, and six doctoral degree programs. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Delaware State University offers a vibrant student life and organizations based on academic and personal interests.
Students also have the freedom to create or design a student organization that fits their needs.
North Carolina A&T State University
North Carolina A&T State University is nationally recognized for its degree programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The campus has an LGBTQ resource center that provides social and peer support, information, education, and events for LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, and allies.
The school hosts Safe Zone training and several quarterly events such as Pride Week Celebration, Transgender Awareness week and National Coming Out Day.
Albany State University
Albany State University is a four-year public institution — and one of the largest HBCUs in Georgia. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
It offers about 40 undergraduate degree programs. Its most popular majors are health and human performance, nursing, biology, criminal justice, early childhood education, and psychology.
Albany State University has The Safe Zone Project, which helps educate people about sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. It also creates a visible network of allies to provide support to the LGBTQ+ community. This training program exists for faculty and staff, and the goal is to provide LGBTQ+ students with mentors on campus.
Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville State University is a public four-year institution in North Carolina. It has a total enrollment of around 6,800 students and is best known for its education and nursing departments. The institution is considered to be military- and commuter-friendly.
The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Fayetteville State University is stepping out as a leader when it comes to supporting LGBTQ+ students. It has a Safe Zone office, which gives students an opportunity to meet each other and build community. Faculty and staff are encouraged to put a "safe zone" sticker on their office doors to symbolize a supportive and respectful community.
Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University is a four-year public institution in Nashville, Tennessee. The school offers about 40 bachelor's, 20 master's, and eight doctoral degree programs. It has an enrollment of around 8,100 students. Its business, engineering, and nursing programs are highly regarded. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The institution offers a safe training program to promote inclusivity for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty. It also regularly offers LGBTQ+ student-focused programming like panel discussions, speaker series, and education and outreach opportunities.
The school also has a Gay Straight Alliance. In 2014, it was one of four historically Black colleges and universities that received a $4,000 grant from the Human Rights Campaign to advance on-campus LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Kentucky State University
Kentucky State University is a four-year public, liberal arts institution in Frankfort. It has a total enrollment of around 2,030 students and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The school is one of the most diverse public institutions in the Commonwealth and among the most diverse nationwide.
The school offers identity-based and academic student organizations. Kentucky State University has an annual diversity week focusing on the needs of LGBTQ+ students.
Morgan State University
Morgan State University is a four-year public institution in Baltimore Maryland. It's the largest of Maryland's HBCUs. Morgan has a total enrollment of around 7,800. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
It has more than 140 academic degree programs — from baccalaureate to doctorate. Morgan has an LGBTQ advisory board for faculty, staff, and students. Its mission is to create an inclusive and welcoming campus climate and increase the resources and services available to LGBTQ students.
There is also a student organization on campus called S.O.U.L, which stands for Students Open to Unique Loving. The Women and Gender Studies Department offers an academic minor with courses on sexuality and gender. Discussions and events are also held every semester.
Spelman College is a four-year, private, not-for-profit college in Atlanta, Georgia. It is America's oldest private HBCU liberal arts college for women. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Spelman is home to 2,100 students and is the leading producer of Black women who pursue a Ph.D. in STEM.
In 2021, Spelman College became the first HBCU to launch the Queer Studies Chair in honor of Audre Lorde. The school also established a Transgender Policy Task Force to look at enrollment, graduation, services, and resources for transgender students.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is a four-year public institution in Tallahassee, Florida. FAMU offers around 100 degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. It is among the largest HBCUs by enrollment, serving over 9,000 students.
The school is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The school offers an LGBTQA student resource center and a student organization called Spectrum. Spectrum is an LGBTQ+ organization focused on promoting gender equality and advocating for justice in the FAMU area.
Bowie State University
Bowie State University, a four-year public institution in Maryland, is the oldest HBCU in Maryland. The school offers around 22 undergraduate majors, 20 master degree programs, and two doctoral programs. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Bowie State University, which serves over 6,000 students, offers opportunities to study abroad.
The school has been at the forefront of LGBTQ+ inclusion. It was the first HBCU to open a Gender and Sexualities Diversity Center and the first to have a Queer Studies course approved.
Hampton University (HU) is a four-year, private, not-for-profit institution in Hampton, Virginia. The campus serves around 4,700 students and offers about 50 bachelor's degree programs, 25 master's degree programs, and nine doctoral programs.
The campus is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Some of HU's top majors include liberal studies, psychology, and business administration and management.
In 2016, HU approved its first LGBTQ student organization, MOSAIC. MOSAIC was established to provide LGBTQ+ students with access to leadership opportunities, programs, and services.
Fort Valley State University
Fort Valley State University is a four-year public institution in Fort Valley, Georgia. The university offers more than 50 bachelor's degrees, as well as master's degree programs.
The college serves around 2,600 students and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Fort Valley State University has a Gay Straight Alliance on campus. Students have access to the alliance's services, programs, peer mentoring, and support. Additionally, the campus also has a Pride Navigator, which helps LGBTQ+ students navigate academic, social, psychological, and community resources.
Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is a four-year public institution in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The university offers over 40 academic majors and 10 graduate degrees.
The school enrolls approximately 5,200 students and is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The institution is known for its nursing and education programs.
WSSU is a recipient of INSIGHT Into Diversity's Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award in recognition of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The school offers the LGBTQ-focused student organization PRISM and holds an annual Pride Week celebration in collaboration with Student Life.
Savannah State University
Savannah State University — a four-year public institution in Savannah, Georgia — is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The school offers about 23 undergraduate degree programs and five master degree programs. The most popular majors at Savannah State include journalism, business/commerce, and biology/biological sciences. The campus serves approximately 3,300 students.
Savannah State hosts a Safe Space Training program for students, staff, and faculty to raise awareness and knowledge of LGBT issues. The program also suggests ways students can serve as allies to LGBT individuals. The campus also offers many student organizations, including the Gay-Straight Alliance.
Elizabeth City State University
Elizabeth City State University is a four-year public institution in North Carolina. It serves about 2,500 students and offers around 28 undergraduate programs and four graduate programs.
The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Student Loan Hero ranks Elizabeth City State University among the most affordable HBCUs in the United States. It was also rated one of the top veteran-friendly schools by U.S. Veterans Magazine.
The institution offers a LGBTQ student organization, True Colors, which provides students with a safe space and access to program, service, and leadership opportunities. In 2018, the campus held a Gender and Sexuality campuswide forum focused on how to make the school more inclusive to LGBTQ+ students.
Jackson State University
Jackson State University, a four-year public institution in Mississippi, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
It is one of the largest HBCUs and among the largest universities in Mississippi. The campus serves over 7,000 students, and popular majors include biology, social work, interdisciplinary studies, and criminal justice.
The institution offers an LGBTQ+ student organization, Spectrum. Its goal is to promote awareness, education, and outreach for LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty. The organization regularly hosts events and even conducted a forum on being an LGBTQ+ person in a Greek organization.
Morehouse College is a four-year, private, not-for-profit institution in Atlanta, Georgia. The liberal arts-focused college serves those who are male-identifying, with an enrollment of over 2,000 students. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
In 2019, Morehouse College decided it would allow transgender men to enroll at the school.
In 2002, Morehouse launched its first LGBTQ+ student organization, Safe Space. In 2010, the school held its inaugural Pride Week celebration on campus. In 2013, its first LGBTQ course was offered, focusing on the impact of Black LGBT figures on culture and politics.
Coppin State University
Coppin State University is a four-year public institution in Baltimore, Maryland. The school serves over 2,000 students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The most popular majors are nursing, psychology, criminal justice, and early childhood education. Coppin State University has a student-led NAACP chapter.
In 2022, the chapter led a discussion on Health Equity in the LGBTQ community.
Tuskegee University is a four-year, private, not-for-profit institution in Tuskegee, Alabama. The campus serves around 3,000 students and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The college offers about 43 bachelor's degree programs, 17 master's degrees, and five doctoral degree programs.The most popular majors at Tuskegee include architecture, business, education, and engineering.
Tuskegee University offers a student organization, Safe Space, for LGBTQ+ students and allies.
Norfolk State University
Norfolk State University is a four-year public institution in Norfolk, Virginia. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The school serves over 6,000 students and offers about 36 bachelor's degrees, 15 master's degrees, and three doctorate degrees.
Norfolk State University's Spectrum Learning Community provides a welcoming and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students during their first year of college. Students in the learning community participate in focused discussions on LGBTQ issues, student leadership, and community activities.
Southern University and A&M College
Southern University and A&M College is a four-year public institution in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The college serves over 7,000 students and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The school's most popular majors are nursing, criminal justice, psychology, and speech language pathology.
The institution has an NAACP chapter that provides advocacy, education, and outreach.
Xavier University of Louisiana
Xavier University of Louisiana is a four-year, private, not-for-profit school in New Orleans, Louisiana. The college serves over 3,000 students and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Xavier offers around 50 total degree programs at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral level.
In 2021, Xavier celebrated its inaugural Pride Week celebration, consisting of student events, and community activities. The school also offers Safe Zone training for students, staff, and faculty.
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Additional Resources for LGBTQ+ HBCU Students
This organization helps and supports HBCUs in enhancing policies and services that promote LGBTQ+ inclusion and engagement. The goal is to provide education, outreach, and program services to HBCU leaders and students — to build their leadership competencies around promoting a more inclusive and welcoming campus. Since the program's inception, it has established partnerships with over 30 HBCUs. Services include a national HBCU Leadership Summit and the HBCU LGBTQ+ Alumni Network.
The coalition's mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ+ bias. Providing advocacy, education, and outreach, the organization also helps inform policy around empowering LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies. The National Black Justice Coalition also provides leadership development and training for students and administrators to build their knowledge about promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion on their respective campuses.
The Center for Black Equity's goal is to develop and cultivate a multinational LGBTQ+ network dedicated to improving health and wellness, economic empowerment, and equal rights. The center organizes pride celebrations around the world, provides leadership training on promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion, and engages in policy work.
ALP focuses on community organizing, capacity building, and education in the New York area. The organization regularly hosts fundraisers, protests and marches, and events in the community to advance LGBTQ+ justice.
Brown Boi Project is a community for LGBTQ+ youths and adults. And it's committed to changing the way that communities of color talk about gender. The organization provides financial wellness programs that teach LGBTQ+ populations financial literacy. Brown Boi Project also hosts leadership retreats and workshops focused on enhancing LGBTQ+ inclusion in schools and around the world.