by Shane Windmeyer
Originally published: June 15, 2017
“We don’t have any of those students.”
The privilege and ignorance that accompanies this statement is dumbfounding. The notion that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth do not exist on a college campus demonstrates real prejudice. And the fact that these words, as well as the biased belief behind it, are still present in the action (or inaction) of faculty, staff and administrators on college campuses across the country is even more disturbing.
As the executive director and founder of Campus Pride, the nation’s leading nonprofit advocating for LGBT students on college and university campuses, I have witnessed firsthand both the progress made by and challenges facing people striving for LGBT inclusion in higher education for the last 20 years. I have also seen how progress has been limited by factors such as political climate, financial resources, bigoted religious teachings, region of the country, institutional commitment and ultimately campus officials who lack understanding and are unwilling to recognize LGBT youth as part of the community.