LGBTQ Latinx Students: Make an Informed Decision about Higher Education
Posted on 09/17/2019 @ 10:57 AM
By Jesse Garcia, President of LULAC Lambda Council 11125, Washington, DC
Nearly 30 years ago, I left my border town of Brownsville, Texas, to attend a private university in San Antonio. I was a young kid with big dreams—the first in his family to attend college. Luckily for me, I chose Our Lady of the Lake University, whose student body was mainly Latinx and African American. The small school felt like home, and my mom felt reassured she was leaving me in a safe place where my dormitory, classrooms and administration buildings were all next to each other on a picturesque campus with manicured lawns.
Unfortunately, not even a private Catholic University could prevent the bigotry and homophobia that every queer youth in America has to endure in a school setting. It only took a couple weeks before the taunting and threats began. But it was too late. My tuition check had been cashed. My student loan had been disbursed. My family had already celebrated my departure. I couldn’t quit.
I had to take on this harassment by myself. I had to create my own safe space and build a social circle to help me overcome bullying by grown men on a college campus.
Although there is more acceptance and protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students today, the bullying continues. According to a recent paper, Campus Climate, by the Rutgers Tyler Clementi Center, 32 percent of queer students polled felt discriminated; 38 percent of them felt unsafe after their first year on campus; 52 percent had difficulty getting along with their roommate; and 24 percent were verbally harassed for their sexual orientation. The percentages for all these categories were higher for transgender students.
Until colleges and universities step up and take measures to ensure the safety of each student regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, the onus is put on LGBTQ students and their parents to make careful decisions on where to apply.
Thankfully, a new online resource was created to help queer students navigate life after high school: Best Colleges for LGBT Students.
BestColleges.com recently partnered with Campus Pride to spotlight top colleges in the country for LGBTQ students. The ranking system combines academic and affordability metrics with the Campus Pride Index score, which is a comprehensive national rating system that measures LGBTQ-friendly campus life.
This fall nearly 20 million students in the United States will head off to college to start their academic journeys.
Higher education is a monumental accomplishment for students and their families. For students, the endeavor demands sacrifices in time, energy and financial resources. For parents, choosing the right school is paramount to ensure their children are provided a good education on a safe campus.
With more than 4,300 colleges and universities throughout the country competing for your tuition dollar, the choice can be overwhelming.
Luckily, BestColleges.com gives proactive LGBTQ students resources to make informed decisions about their future.
On behalf of LULAC, I would like to congratulate LGBTQ scholars on your important milestone and wish you the best of luck on your selection!