Laws & Policies

  • In 2009 the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was passed. This act created a federal criminal law for anyone willfully causing bodily injury to persons based on their perceived or actual race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability (Hate Crimes Prevention Act, 2009).
  • Only 13% of colleges have non-discriminatory policies inclusive of sexual orientation and only 6% are inclusive of transgender students (Windmeyer, 2012).
  • More than 90% of two- and four-year institutions remain completely inaccessible and inhospitable to transgender students (Beemyn & Rankin, 2012).
  • On June 26, 2015 the United State Supreme Court decides throughout the nation that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry and the right of marriage recognition. (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2016).
  • In 2016 there were 22 reported deaths of transgender people in the U.S. due to fatal violence, the most ever recorded (HRC, 2017).

Discrimination and its effect

  • The 2009 National School Climate Survey revealed that 89% of students frequently heard the word “gay” used in a negative way (National School Climate Survey, 2009).
  • LGBQ individuals are twice as likely to be targets of derogatory remarks (Campus Climate Survey 2010, Rankin).
  • LGBQ individuals of Color are more likely than their LGBQ White counterparts to indicate race as the basis for harassment (however sexual identity was the primary risk factor for harassment for both). (Campus Climate Survey 2010, Rankin).
  • 59% of students in Massachusetts said they were victims of identity-based harassment and assault (GLSEN, 2015).
  • Gay, lesbian and unsure students consistently report higher levels of mental health issues than heterosexual students (Beemyn & Rankin, 2011).


  • There are more out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender college students today than at any other time (Windmeyer, 2012).
  • On some campuses the ratio of openly trans men to openly trans women appears to be as high as 10 to 1 (Beemyn & Rankin, 2012).
  • A growing number of campuses are now covering most of the cost of transitioning, including surgery, under the student health insurance plan (Beemyn, 2015).
  • 142 Colleges have an LGBT Center; 38 have gender neutral housing; 14 report as trans-friendly (College Equality Index, 2017).
  • 2060 of the nation’s health care facilities rated their commitment to LGBT equality and inclusion (Healthcare Equality Index, 2017).

Citations & Additional Resources

18 U.S.C. § 249, The Matthew Sheppard & James Byrd Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

Beemyn, G. (2015).Leaving No Trans College Students Behind. Chronicle of Higher Education, 62(B), p. 1. 

Beemyn, G. & Rankin, S. (2011).  Introduction to the Special Issues on LGBTQ Campus Experiences.  Journal of Homosexuality, 58(9), p. 1159-1164. 

College Equality Index (2017).  School listings Reports.  Retrieved from

GLSEN (2015).  2015 State Snapshot, School Climate in Massachusetts. Retrieved from  

Human Rights Campaign Foundation (2016).  Healthcare Equality Index, Promoting Equitable and Inclusive Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Patients and Their Families.  Retrieved from

Human Rights Campaign Foundation (2017).  Hate Crimes and Violence Against LGBTQ People.  Retrieved from

Newport, Frank (2015).  Americans Greatly Overestimate Percent Gay, Lesbian in the U.S. Gallup Poll 183381.  Social Issues, May 21, 2015.  Retrieved from

Rankin, S. & Beemyn, G. (2012).  Beyond a binary: The lives of gender-nonconforming youth. About Campus, 17(4), p. 2-10.

United States Census Bureau (February 28, 2017).

Windmeyer, Shane (2012).  Invisible Students, Missing Programs and Policies.  University Business, 15(6), p. 24-25.