EMU ranked among top campuses for LGBT friendliness

Eastern Michigan University was ranked one of the top campuses in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friendliness by CampusPride.org, LGBT resource center director Mary Larkin announced Thursday.

The university’s LGBT resource center addresses issues including policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing issues, campus safety, counseling and health, recruitment and retention efforts at EMU.

Larkin said she knew that not everyone on campus supported Eastern’s LGBT friendly environment. She said her goal was to keep those feelings from affecting EMU policy.

“I am nervous that Eastern is going to get complacent because we have such an accepting campus,” Larkin said.

In its continued effort to create “an inclusive campus climate,” the LGBT resource center held its SAFE meeting on the third floor of the Student Center Thursday afternoon. Larkin said she expected a turnout near 30 and wanted to use the occasion to give students an opportunity to connect and educate the EMU community.

SAFE focused on several LGBT-relevant programs including the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. GLSEN did a survey of about 8,500 students between 13 and 20 on LGBT issues. About 82 percent of LGBT students in high school reported being verbally harassed, according to the slide show, and approximately 60 percent of students reported feeling unsafe because of their sexual orientation.

Only 30 percent of LGBT students reported the same thing while at college.

“If we had 80 percent of another group that felt unsafe, we would see a much quicker response to remedying that,” Larkin said.

Michigan, Larkin said, is one of the top-five worst states for LGBTQ inclusion and acceptance.

In Michigan, it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. There are still several states in the U.S. that do not allow for gay couples to adopt. EMU added sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policy in 2007.

If you are an LGBT student and are interested in joining the LGBT Resource Center or want to learn more, the Resource Center is located at 354 in the Student Center. You can go to their website at emich.edu/lgbtrc.

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