I’d rule out any red state from the outset and I agree with your premise of only going to college in a blue state, I wouldn’t be so quick to attend just any school in a solidly blue state. While the state level politics may be more inclusive, it doesn’t mean that every region within the state is safe for LGBTQ+ people. I wish it were safe but rural Oregon, Washington and California can be extremely hostile. I’ve lived on the east coast for many years now and see confederate flags flying in yards down the highway from my house in the rural part of a blue state.
I think there are levels of ‘trans friendly’ that are good to sort through.
I’m sure there are many schools that are accepting and make some accommodations for trans students.
Obviously the schools that are trying to actively discriminate should be avoided at all costs.
Then we get to ‘tolerated’, ‘accepted’, ‘supported’, ‘actively engaged’. So many different options out there I think. Having neutral gender bathrooms and the option to have a single dorm room as a trans gender student is kind of bare bones support. It’s a start but not enough. A lot of the schools listed on campus pride that are
given high marks are very large institutions. Would love to know of smaller schools that are more than just accepting and tolerant.
Some colleges and some local areas may not be as trans friendly/accepting.
Also, for any college, how trans-friendly (by whatever rating system or gradations you choose) can be different for each of the following:
- College policies.
- College campus environment (attitudes of students, faculty, staff).
- Local government policies.
- Local area environment.
- State government policies.
Any of the above can also change (either better or worse) without the others necessarily changing, so a rating for trends of change and/or potential for change in the near term future may also be worth consideration.
The same can apply when evaluating with respect to any other group subject to unfriendly discrimination that the student is a member of.
If you’re looking in the Northwest I’d suggest schools in Portland and Seattle (so it’s not only a campus bubble) and there’s a range of LAC and Uni: Reed, Lewis & Clark, and Portland State University would all be worth a look in Oregon, and the UW if you’re looking for a large research university.
I think this is incredibly important. Nevada was just heavily targeted by the anti trans folks. Nevada got through it without caving and the hate groups couldn’t get a foothold. Those folks have now moved on to Arizona. I seriously doubt Arizona will be able to withstand the pressure of the anti-trans folks. Plus, unless your trans kid is an activist, I would think being in a target state would feel incredibly uncomfortable at the very least.
There are bigoted jerks everywhere. My kids are LGBTQ, one trans. We live in the South. They have no plans that they have shared with me to move out of state. My D22 is looking at colleges in our state now. There are plenty of liberal areas in the South where a person can feel safe and there are Proud Boys in Portland, too. I have a friend who lives there and it seems worse than here in many ways.
I totally agree, generalizations do not work in this process. My S goes to a very liberal school that is known for its trans policies in the south. The experience has been wonderful.
If he’s interested in Boston, both Lesley and Emerson are very trans-friendly.
Here’s hoping that your child, once enrolled, will never need the services of the campus health office, but it’s worth checking to see if that office has experience/training in medical/mental health care for trans students. The medical community has begun to offer specialized training to its professionals regarding proper care of trans persons, as it has recognized that one size doesn’t fit all in terms of proper health care.
Also, for health care beyond the capabilities of whatever campus health office there is, any investigation here may need to be extended to local hospitals and emergency rooms.
Fellow trans student applying to colleges in New England and the PNW. Reed seems definitely trans-friendly and has a large LGBTQ community with a strong T presence in particular. The other schools up there are trans-affirming to various extents. I personally have trans friends that have gone to UPS, Whitman, and UW and felt safe there. As for the East Coast, it may not be what he’s comfortable with, but Mount Holyoke describes itself as a “gender-diverse women’s college” and does accept trans male students.
My D had a number of trans friends at Vassar and the school generally provides an open and accepting environment.
Thank you so much for your response! This is exactly the kind of info I’m looking for. I really appreciate your input.
What an interesting bit of info about Mt Holyoke.
Best of luck with your college journey.
They really seem to be doing great things there. I think it will be one to keep an eye on.
So glad it was helpful! My counselor also suggested Wesleyan – she knew a few trans people when she went there and I think it’s very Reed-y, but the surrounding area is a little more conservative. And our tour guide at Bowdoin was a nonbinary person who seemed to have no problems there (though, of course, they’re paid to seem that way).
Happy to talk more about other schools & being a trans applicant in general. Best of luck to you & your son!
Agnes Scott, Mount Holyoke, Smith would all be very affirming for a trans youth. Vassar for sure.
2 posts were split to a new thread: College Suggestions for Trans Student