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It is inevitable to feel a bit apprehensive about applying to colleges. You never truly understand the culture of a school until you are attending it. One of the many reasons I decided to attend SU was the amount of pride the school takes in supporting the LGBT community and ensuring a prejudice-free educational environment for everyone. In 2014, Syracuse University was ranked as one of the top 10 LGBT-friendly colleges in the nation by The Huffington Post. This ranking shows just how accepting the institution is of the LGBT community and that SU is constantly trying to ensure that everyone feels accepted here.

SU’s LGBT Resource Center is the on-campus source for anything relating to marginalized genders and sexualities. By encouraging meaningful dialogues exploring social justice, integrity, advocacy, and leadership through weekly discussion groups, students are able to come together and create a safer space for everyone. At the LGBT Resource Center, I often meet like-minded peers who take pride in their sexual identities and are active in various initiatives enacted by the resource center. For example, the “You Are Not Alone” annual campaign seeks to convey a message of acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and asexual communities. Every year, in honor of National Coming Out Day on October 11, the university releases a list of SU students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have penned their support for the cause. (check out last year’s list)

In addition, the LGBT Resource Center hosts events, socials, and fundraisers that align with their mission to break social barriers and boundaries. Last year, the resource center was able to bring “Orange is the New Black” actress, Laverne Cox, to SU to speak about her journey as a transgender woman. She gave significant insight on being a minority who is queer and how that has triggered many hardships in her life. She has been so inspirational to me and it was truly an honor to listen to her shed light on bullying, bigotry, while educating people on misconceptions they have regarding the transgender community.

SU is a community that is welcoming and accepting of student backgrounds. Diversity is what accelerates this university forward and creates an environment that is suitable for all students. I have always felt comfortable expressing myself and being who I really am at SU because everyone is open-minded here. I have never witnessed or heard of any hateful acts committed toward LGBT students here and that’s a true testament to the university’s myriad of resources to educate students on sexual diversity. The university’s active efforts to demonstrate its support for the LGBT community continue to validate my decision to attend this institution and there is no place I would rather be than at Syracuse University.

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