Why LGBTQ+ campus resource centers are essential: A rallying cry from scholars
A group of scholars highlighted the importance of opening and maintaining LGBTQ+ resource centers on college campuses in a commentary published last Oct. 16. LGBTQ+ resource centers offer greater support to LGBTQ+ students during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be a time of heightened anxiety and depression.
“LGBTQ+ campus resource centers provide essential services for college and university communities and are increasingly necessary in light of the ongoing and reverberating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the commentary read.
The commentary, titled “Why LGBTQ+ Campus Resource Centers are Essential,” was written by scholars from Lehigh University and Ohio State University in the United States and was published on the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity journal.
According to data from LGBTQ+ centers, there are currently more than 275 LGBTQ+ resource centers in university campuses in the U.S. Research has shown that the presence of these centers is correlated with lower levels of discrimination, less stress and increased self-acceptance among LGBTQ+ students.
The centers’ main fields of action include support, counseling, fostering a sense of belonging among students, as well as LGBTQ+ advocacy, according to the authors.
The authors considered campus LGBTQ+ resource centers are essential to the health, well-being and academic success of LGBTQ+ students, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper emphasized the potential consequences of cutting such services, and the distress and confusion these young people can suffer, exacerbated by the pandemic.
“College students’ experiences shifted dramatically as a result of COVID-19, often to the detriment of their health and well-being. For example, many LGBTQ+ students returned to unsafe and/or unsupportive homes when they were unable to remain on-campus; the abrupt and unexpected shift into these harmful and traumatic environments has exacerbated the need for additional support services,” the authors stated.
A study in 2014 found that more than 25% of lesbian, gay and bisexual college students witnessed or experienced some form of harassment, correlating with increased reports of anxiety and depression. CC
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